Kath­leen Turner to make Metropoli­tan Opera de­but


NEW YORK One of the act­ing’s most dis­tinc­tive voices will make an un­ex­pected Metropoli­tan Opera de­but.

Kath­leen Turner, known for words that smoke rather than shim­mer, is join­ing the cast of Gae­tano Donizetti’s “The Daugh­ter of the Reg­i­ment” in the non-singing role of the Duchess of Krak­en­thorp, the Met said Thurs­day.

She re­ceived an un­ex­pected email this sum­mer from Met gen­eral man­ager Peter Gelb propos­ing the idea. Asked to de­scribe her voice, Turner terms it “kind of bari­tone.”

“Peter says I’m one of the few women he knows who can sing ‘Ol’ Man River’ in the orig­i­nal key,” she said dur­ing an in­ter­view Wed­nes­day with her dis­tinc­tive, throaty laugh.

An Academy Award- and Tony Award-nom­i­nated ac­tress, the 64year-old Turner will ap­pear in seven per­for­mances of the comic opera from Feb. 7 to March 1, the last tele­vised to movie the­atres around the world in high def­i­ni­tion.

“La Fille du Reg­i­ment” is sung in French and stars so­prano Pretty Yende in the ti­tle role of Marie, tenor Javier Ca­marena as To­nio (who sings the fa­mous aria “Ah! mes amis” with the nine high Cs) and mezzo-so­prano Stephanie Blythe as the Mar­quise of Berken­field.

The Duchess en­ters im­pe­ri­ously at the start of the sec­ond act to ar­range a mar­riage be­tween her nephew and Marie.

“I was think­ing of in­ter­est­ing, big­ger-than-life per­son­al­i­ties, and Kath­leen came to mind, Gelb said.

“I don’t un­der­stand. Why do you need me?” Turner re­called telling Gelb. “I said, ‘Well, send the li­bretto. Let me read it out loud.’”

She went to the Met in Au­gust, walked the stage, fell in love with the acous­tics and agreed. Gelb said it has not been de­ter­mined whether she will speak in French, English or a com­bi­na­tion. Turner doesn’t think she will at­tempt to ad-lib.

“I don’t think I would have that much courage,” he said.

Turner re­ceived an Academy Award nom­i­na­tion for “Peggy Sue Got Mar­ried” in 1997 and Tony nom­i­na­tions for Ten­nessee Wil­liams’ “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” in 1990 and Ed­ward Al­bee’s “Who’s Afraid of Vir­ginia Woolf?” in 2005.

She first sang pub­licly in 2014 dur­ing Ber­tolt Brecht’s “Mother Courage and Her Chil­dren” at the Arena Stage in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. She launched a cabaret show, “Find­ing My Voice,” at Fe­in­stein’s at the Nikko in San Fran­cisco last Oc­to­ber, took it to The Other Palace in Lon­don in April and then New York’s Cafe Car­lyle in May.

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