In spring 2011, the first-ever performances at New York's Metropolitan Opera of Rossini's Le Comte Ory brought standing ovations and critical-acclaim. The spectacular trio of Juan Diego Florez, Diana Damrau and Joyce DiDonato ignited vocal and theatrical fireworks. Le Comte Ory tells the story of a libidinous and cunning nobleman who disguises himself first as a hermit and then as a nun ("Sister Colette") in order to gain access to the virtuous Countess Adele, whose brother is away at the Crusades. The 2011 Met production was directed by the Tony Award-winning Broadway director Bartlett Sher, who in recent years has also staged Il barbiere di Siviglia and Les Contes d'Hoffman for the Met. Sher presented the action as an opera within an opera, updated the action by a few centuries and giving the costume designer, Catherine Zuber, the opportunity to create some particularly extravagant headgear. Juan Diego Florez starred as the title role while Diana Damrau plays his love interest, Countess Adele, and Joyce DiDonato was in breeches as his pageboy Isolier. The trio had appeared in Sher's production of Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia.
“Carmelite Vespers 1709” presents a reconstruction of musical performances in Rome in 1709, based on a new critical edition by Italian Handel expert Angela Romagnoli. In early 18th century-Rome the holiday of Madonna del Carmine was celebrated with a lavish musical pasticcio. Italian Early Music specialist Alessandro de Marchi, his Academia Montis Regalis and an excellent ensemble of solo vocalists present the reconstruction of such a service as it might have been performed in 1709 under the direction of Venetian master Antonio Caldara (1670–1736). The programme combines lesser-known but stunningly beautiful pieces by Caldara himself with famous motets by his predecessor Handel such as “Dixit Dominus” or “Laudate pueri”.