Bow to the Met Season! It is your leader!
Parsifal and Don Carlo continue their runs and Otello jumps in with Krasimira Stoyanova as Desdemona in March.
Francesca da Rimini: I cannot express to you how excited I am for this! Usually, the Met mounts one opera a season that I like to call the "obscure or rarely performed Italian one." This is certainly the one for this year and I couldn't be more excited! Verismo opera is one of my favorite genres, so a revival of a rarely performed piece last seen in 1986 is a real treat. While the opera may not be 100 percent verismo, it has the real elements of passion, anger and lust frequently seen in verismo operas. The production is supposed to be beautiful (as seen below) and we have a fantastic cast. Eva Maria Westbroek sings the title role. She is one of my favorite divas. She has such charisma and a verismo voice that works so well with this repotrtoire. Marcello Giordani sings Paolo, her lover and Mark Delevan sings Gianciotto, Francesca's eformed husband. Marco Armiliato conducts Riccardo Zandonai's beautiful score. (This sounds like a press blurb...)
La Traviata: March is my month at the Met! I've already bought my tickets to see Diana Damrau on opening night of her first Violetta and I am SO excited. The cast is so interesting. As I said before, Diana Damrau sings her first Violetta, a role that I'm sure she will make a splash in. Placido Domingo sings Pere Germont. THIS will be interesting. While Domingo's baritone singing has been praised, it is noted that he loses a lot of the baritonal color that is so necessary for Verdi roles such as Simon Boccanegra he sang a few years ago. Saimir Pirgu, who made his Met debut in 2009 as Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi sings Alfredo. He has sung the role around the world and will be someone to watch this season. Yannick Nezet- Seguin conducts.
Faust: Last season's production flop returns to the Met with Piotr Beczala as the failed scientist, John Relyea as Mephistopheles and Marina Poplavskaya as Marguerite. Good luck to Beczala for this role with all its dramatic color that we hope he has. John Relyea has already sung the devil to acclaim so we're in luck there. I've never been a fan of Poplavskaya's tone quality but her Jewel Song was really enjoyable last year so we'll see. Des McAnuff's updated production returns from last season. I guess we're calling it "inventive" now. Alain Altinoglu conducts.
Giulio Cesare: Even though it's a shared production, it's easy to see that David McVicar is riding high at the Met these days. The only Baroque presentation of the season stars Natalie Dessay as Cleopatra. Dessay struggled through a few performances of La Traviata last year, but this Baroque may be her comeback. With the smaller orchestra, she may find herself more at home with this type of music at this point in her career. Alice Coote sings Sesto, Patricia Bardon sings Cornelia, and two countertenors -- David Daniels and Christophe Dumaux -- round it off as Cesare and Sesto. This is the same production that was at Glyndebourne a few years ago, with a lot of choreography. If you're not familiar with this Handel masterwork, I suggest listening to the "Oliver's Corner" section of the "OperaNow! Podcast" where Oliver Comacho gives a musical and theatrical dissection of it available for listening through the app, starting with episode No. 107. Conducted by Harry Bicket.
Der Ring des Nibelungen: (Instead of posting an individual blurb for each opera, I'll just sum it up in one paragraph.) The Lepage Ring returns with a cast very similar to that of when the operas were originally produced in this production starting in 2009. Eric Owens and Richard Paul Fink sing Alberich, Mark Delavan alternates with Greer Grimsley sings "Wotan," Stephanie Blythe sings Fricka, Deborah Voigt and Katarina Dalayman alternate as Brunhilde, Lars Cleveman and Jay Hunter Morris sing Siegfreid, and Meredith Arwady sings Erda, along with many others. You can find the cycle list here. Fabio Luisi conducts every cycle.
Dialogues des Carmelites: In my opinion, this opera is tragically underrated. Its story, detailing the execution of nuns during the French Revolution, is disturbing as much as it is a tear-jerker. Isabel Leonard sings the role of Blanche de la Force, who hides from the world in a monastery. Patricia Racette is Madame Lidoine, Elizabeth Bishop sings Mere Marie and Paul Appleby sings Chevalier de la Force, Blanche's brother. This John Dexter production is considered by some to be the greatest overall production in the Met's repertoire. The final scene will give you chills. Trust me. Louis Langree conducts Poulenc's masterpiece.
There you have it. The Met season.