“I can honestly say I wouldn’t mind singing it once somewhere else, without that spotlight,” Polenzani said, adding, “I resisted putting myself in any category, though, because the breadth of my career was broad in terms of the repertoire I sang. You can have a valid argument for any part you want to sing, if it’s in your soul.
And he praised his colleagues, including Met Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who conducts, as well as the orchestra and chorus; a cast that also includes Sonya Yoncheva, Étienne Dupuis, Jamie Barton and Eric Owens; and production director David McVicar, who will also direct “Medea” next season.
When premiered in Paris in 1867, the five-act “Don Carlos”, adapted from a play by Schiller, was deemed too long. Verdi reluctantly agreed and oversaw a number of revisions, as well as an Italian translation as “Don Carlo”. For decades, in the most radical intervention, the first act of the work was often cut and the remaining four acts usually given in Italian.
In 2010 at the Met, Nézet-Séguin conducted the five-act version (in Italian). Since then, he has been angling to present the French “Don Carlos” at home. As the plans for this new production take shape, Nézet-Séguin thinks of Polenzani for the title role, even if he has never sung it, neither in one nor in the other. language.
“Matthieu Polenzani is one of the greatest tenors of our time,” writes Nézet-Séguin in an email. “Matthieu was perfect for Don Carlos because it’s a role of infinite nuance and subtlety, with such a wide range of emotions and expressions, that would play out exactly Matthieu’s qualities.”