David McVicar, who directed last season’s Met premiere of Anna Bolena, directs the company premiere of the second opera in Donizetti’s famous trilogy of operas about Tudor history. “Donizetti’s three Tudor operas are very different in tone, mood, and musical content,” McVicar says. “With Maria Stuarda being a different kind of opera than last season’s Anna Bolena, which we presented with a great deal of historical accuracy, we’ve gone for a visual style which is freer. Rather than reflecting history, it reflects the romantic nature of this retelling of the story and the sweeping romantic nature of Donizetti’s music.” Joyce DiDonato sings the title role of the defiant Mary, Queen of Scots. South African soprano Elza van den Heever makes her Met debut as Mary’s formidable rival, Queen Elizabeth I. Maurizio Benini conducts a cast that also includes Francesco Meli as the Earl of Leicester, Joshua Hopkins as Cecil, and Matthew Rose as Talbot.