Cher Public

Gold standard

Like everyone else, La Cieca was watching Mad Men last night, and suddenly something clicked. She realized that the “current” time on the series as of last night was August, 1966—which means that sometime in the next week or two the chronology of the Gotham-based melodrama will coincide with the opening of the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center, September 16. And what that further means is a) La Cieca is old and b) the 50th anniversary of the “New Met” is only four seasons away.

That’s where you come in.  

Your doyenne proposes a competition in which you, the cher public, play impresario. Your challenge: to program the Met’s 2016-17 “Golden Anniversary” season, with a list of repertoire to be performed along with as much detail about casting and personnel as you care to include.

Your projected season ideally should rival in ambition Mr. Bing’s spectacular first Lincoln Center season, which featured two world premieres (Antony and Cleopatra and Mourning Becomes Elektra), a company premiere (Die Frau Ohne Schatten), six more new productions and about 20 revivals. You are permitted to include in your plans any repertoire that is already rumored for the 2016-17 season.

Please propose your season in the comments section of this post. The competition opens immediately and closes at midnight on Sunday, April 29. From the entries in the comments section La Cieca’s blue-ribbon panel will select two winners: Best in Show (for overall excellence) and Gelb’s Folly (for humorous entertainment value). Each of the winners will receive a coveted Amazon gift card in the amount of $100. The decisions of La Cieca, based upon the recommendations of the blue-ribbon panel, are both final and subject to whim.

Dazzle me!

  • UpB7

    Company premiere:

    Der Schauspieldirektor (The Impresario – a comedic stage play with music) (Mozart)
    [in English]

    Frank the impresario: Alec Baldwin
    Eiler the banker: Stanley Tucci
    Madame File, actress & mistress of Eiler: Kristen Johnston
    Madame Crona, actress: Tracey Ullman
    Mr. Herz, actor: Daniel Davis
    Madame Vogelsang, actress: Daphne Rubin-Vega

    Madame Herz: Kathleen Kim
    Madame Silberklang: Erika Miklósa
    Mr. Vogelsang, singer: Matthew Polenzani
    Buff, actor: Joshua Bloom

    New productions:


    Arabella: Miah Persson
    Mandryka: Christopher Maltman
    Zdenka: Heidi Stober
    Fiakermilli: Kathleen Kim

  • UpB7

    Company premiere:

    La finta giardiniera (Mozart)

    Sandrina: Erika Miklósa
    Arminda: Nicole Cabell
    Serpetta: Lisette Oropesa
    Ramiro: Isabel Leonard
    Conte Belfiore: Ramón Vargas
    Don Anchise, Il podestá: Robert Brubaker
    Nardo : Gerald Finley

    New productions :

    Porgy and Bess
    Porgy: Eric Owens / Jonathan Lemalu
    Bess: Nicole Cabell
    Sportin’ Life: Kenneth Tarver
    Maria: Denyce Graves
    Clara: Danielle De Niese

    Alceste:Annette Dasch
    Admète: Toby Spence
    Evandre: Robert Brubaker
    Hercule: Paulo Szot
    Apollo: Rod Gilfry

    Hansel and Gretel [in English]
    (a more upbeat, wholesome, G-rated family version production that is truly suitable for children and families)
    Hansel: Isabel Leonard
    Gretel: Ashley Emerson
    Gertrude (the mother): Susan Bullock
    Peter (the father): Eric Owens
    The Witch: Eva-Maria Westbroek

    • Krunoslav

      Alceste:Annette Dasch

      You *are* joking, I hope?

      Dasch’s vocal material suits her well to Berlioz’s Andromache.

      How about Christine Goerke as Alceste?

  • UpB7

    One more:

    Company premiere:

    Antigona (Traetta)

    Antigona: Marina Rebeka
    Ismene: Ekaterina Siurina
    Emone: Joyce DiDonato
    Creonte: Joseph Kaiser
    Adrasto: Steve Davislim
    conducted by William Christie or Harry Bicket

  • Baritenor

    Since I’m not nearly funny enough to try a witty scenario, here’s a detailed real-life one. I tried to think hard about which singers that now are just breaking out or about to break out will be massive stars or reliable house singers in five years, and I think I’ve got a good group together. Some of this casting is not great…because I think this is a case of would COULD happen, not what would be ideal. I leave it up to you to decide what is deliberate.

    New Productions

    World Premiere: Nico Muhely’s “Morning in America” – a politically charged look at the rise of the Occupy and tea party movements in 2011 through the eyes of various news networks and a harried policewoman trying to keep the peace during the protests.
    Fabio Luisi, Bartlett Sher
    Renee Fleming (Sarah Palin), Susannah Biller (an Occupier), Lalya Claire (our hero’s daughter), Joyce DiDonato (as a policewoman, our hero), Stephanie Blythe (a Tea Partier), William Burden (John Stewart), Thomas Hampson (Bill O’Reilly), Eric Owens (Police Captain)
    Result: Opening night is offset by conflicting protests from the two political movements involved, creating massive press. Reviews are middling but marginally positive.

    World Premiere: Mark Adamo’s Citizen Kane
    Patrick Summers, Leonard Foglia
    Jay Hunter Morris (Charles Foster Kane), Daniele de Neise (Susan Kane), Kate Lindsay (Emily Kane), Lucas Meachem (Jed Leland), Alek Shrader (Mr. Bernstein), Sir Thomas Allen (Mr. Thatcher), Michael Sumeal (The Reporter), Mark Delevan (Gettys)
    Result: The casting of Daniele DeNeise in a role where everyone must comment on how awful her singing is provokes much wit from the Parterre crowd. The opera is a massive success.

    Company Premiere: Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath
    Ricky Ian Gordon, Francesca Zambello
    Nathan Gunn (Tom Joad), Susan Graham (Ma), Kelly Kaduce (Rosasharn), Roger Honeywell (Casey), Dwayne Croft (John), Keith Miller (Ragged Man)
    Result: Critically adored, but audiences stay away for fear of being sent into clinical depression.

    Company Premiere: The Cunning Little Vixen (Janacek)
    Jiri Behlakovhic, Tom Morris (Director of “War Horse”)
    Lisette Oropesa (Vixen), Gerald Finley (Forester), Alice Coote (Fox)
    Result: Though the production provokes some controversy by “demoting” the singers to puppeteer the intricate animal puppets, the result is a crowd pleaser. Alice Coote cancels half of the run, replaced by Tamara Mumford.

    Tristan und Isolde
    Willy Decker, Simon Rattle,
    Nina Stemme, Gary Lehmann, Rene Pape, Peter Mattei, Stephanie Blythe
    Result: An instant classic.

    Cosi fan Tutte
    Alan Gilbert, Michael Grandage
    Elza van den Heever, Lucy Crowe, Isabel Leonard, Alek Shrader, Benedict Nelson, Gerald Finley
    Result: Production and Musical values both strong, though some question vociferously if the imports of cast’s two brits is strictly necessary. Michael Grandage learned his lesson well from Giovanni and stepped up his game.

    Fabio Luisi, Richard Jones
    Amanda Echalaz/Patricia Racette, Massimo Giordano/Adam Deigel, Ambrosio Maestro/Bryn Terfel
    Result: Echalaz’s Tosca is considered a huge success. The production is not well-liked, the grumbled sentiment being that “at least its not the Bondy” with people STILL clamoring to bring back the Zef.

    Les Contes d’Hoffmann
    Yannick Nezet-Seguin, Phelim McDermot and Julian Crouch
    Anna Netrebko/Erin Wall, Isabel Leonard, Matthew Polenzani/Roberto Alagna, Luca Pisaroni/Kyle Ketelsen
    Result: After the Bartlett Sher disaster, the new production is a delight and a season highlight. The now-standard Michael Kaye edition is performed to great success. Netrebko decides the time is right for Olympia and Giuletta (Olympia quietly transposed down a bit). We’re not so sure, but it’s good enough to split the discussion. When she goes out before the matinee broadcast, Gelb sends on Erin Wall (already contracted for the 2nd cast) in all three roles, and a star is well and truly born.

    Fabio Luisi, Martin Scorsese
    Jonas Kaufmann/Roberto Alanga, Anna Netrebko/Marina Poplavskaya, Placido Domingo/George Gagnidze
    Result: Long-Time opera fan Scorsese has a stunning debut as a stage director. This is Domingo’s first Iago, at age 75 (Let’s face it…he’ll still be around). It is, as always, highly controversial but people concur its one of his better baritone attempts. Kaufmann’s Otello and Netrebko’s Desdemona are far less controversial in their triumph, but Kaufmann cancels half the run, replaced by Anders Antoneko for two performances and by Jay Hunter Morris for another. The second cast is not particularly well received.

    Robert LaPage, Fabio Luisi
    Eva-Maria Westbroek, (Brünnhilde), Heidi Melton/Wendy Bryn Harmer (Sieglinde), Wendy Bryn Harmer (Gutrune/Freia), Ekaterina Semenchuk (Fricka), Sarah Connolly (Waltraute), Meredith Arwady (Erda) Lance Ryan (Siegfried), Brandon Jovanovich (Siegmund), Rene Pape/Vitalij Kowaljow (Wotan), Bryn Terfel (Alberich), Hans-Peter König (Hagen/Fafner/Hunding)
    Notes: By this point, while the Machine remains, Robert LaPage has been replaced by stage directors who actually know what they are doing to the immense improvement of the cycle. Eva-Maria Westbroek takes on her first Brunnhildes to a general success, the general consensus being that Walkure is the least congenial role for her.

    Nicolai Luisotti
    Latonia Moore, Stephanie Blythe, Yonghoon Lee, Quinn Kelsey, Jeremy Gaylon

    Derrick Inouye
    Ailyn Perez/Ana Maria Martinez, Talise Tevigne, David Lomeli/Marius Brenciu, Brian Mulligan, Christian van Horn

    Plácido Domingo/Joseph Colaneri
    Ana Maria Martinez, Kate Aldrich, Bryan Hymel, Paolo Szot

    Paolo Carignani
    Lise Lindstrom, Leah Crocetto, Anders Antoneko, Hyung Yun, Oren Gradus

    MAGIC FLUTE (In English, Holiday Show)
    Andrew Davis
    Heidi Stober, Kathleen Kim, Andrew Bidlack, Radam Pogassov, Morris Robinson

    Yves Abel
    Kate Lindsay, Lawrence Brownlee, Franco Pomponi, Patrick Carfizzi, Ferruccio Furlanetto

    Marco Armiliato
    Ailyn Perez, Stephen Costello, Simon Keenlyside

    Maurizio Benini
    Patricia Racette, Rachelle Durkin, Dolora Zajick, Michael Fabiano, Ambrosio Maestri, Nathan Gunn

    Louis Langrée
    Diana Damrau, Elina Garanca, Lalya Claire, Joseph Kaiser, Erwin Schrott, Kyle Ketelsen, Ryan Kuster, Morris Robinson

    Lisette Oropesa/Alberta Shimutrova, Tamara Mumford, Giuseppe Filanoti, Dmitri Hvorstovsky/Quinn Kelsey, Jeremy Gaylon

    Patrick Summers
    Kristine Opolais, Lucy Schaufer, Adam Deigel, Dwayne Croft

    Edo de Waart
    Martina Serefin, Joyce DiDonato, Layla Claire, Boaz Daniel, Franz-Josef Selig

    Kirill Petrenko
    Amanda Eschevez, Kate Lindsay, Piotr Beczala, Dalibor Jenis, David Pittsinger

    Fabio Luisi
    Sondra Radvanovsky, Anita Rachvelishvili, Brandon Jovanovich/Yonghoon Lee, Mariusz Kwiecen, Hao Jiang Tian, Andrea Silvestrelli

    Daniele Gatti
    Ekaterina Semenchuk, Stuart Skelton, Alan Held, Richard Paul Fink, Hans-Peter König

    Yves Abel
    Kathleen Kim, David Lomeli, Nathan Gunn, Bryn Terfel,

    Yannick Nézet-Séguin
    Nino Maichidze, Vittorio Grigolo, Paolo Szot, David Pittsinger

    James Conlon
    Deborah Voigt, Oksana Dyka, Waltraud Meier, Alan Held

    Gianandrea Noseda
    Ana Maria Martinez (Nedda) Latonia Moore (Santuzza), Roberto Alagna (Turiddu/Canio), George Gagnidze (Alfio/Tonio), Lucas Meachem (Silvio)

    Alain Altinoglu
    Angela Meade (Maria), Marina Rebeka (Elisabetta), Charles Castronovo (Percy)

    Antonio Pappano
    Eric Owens, Jennifer Wilson, Gregory Carroll, Raymond Aceto

  • Dawn Fatale

    The Metropolitan Opera’s was faced with what seemed like an insurmountable problem. A mere few months before the ambitious plans for the 2016-17 season was to be announced, a New York State Court upheld a New York City administrative ruling that the Metropolitan Opera could not continue to use its Robert LePage production of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen unless it was licensed to operate as an amusement park. While, it might have been possible to complete the paperwork in time, the lawyers representing the unions working at the Met determined that this would trigger a “Double Duty” clause in the union contracts, thus forcing all union employees to be paid at overtime rates for the entire season. Furthermore, when a generous board member offered to fund a last revival of the Schenk Ring, it was disclosed that the sets and costumes for that production were sealed in Agnes Varis’ funeral pyramid so that she could enjoy a traditional Wagner Ring production in the afterlife.

    Luckily, director Stefan Herheim contacted the Met with a novel plan. He offered to devise a staging of the Ring that would use costumes and sets from existing Metropolitan Opera productions. After much discussion, he chose Herbert Wernicke’s Die Frau Ohne Schatten for Das Rheingold, Franco Zeffirelli’s Tosca for Die Walkuere , Luc Bondy’s Tosca for Siegfried and Colin Graham’s Ghosts of Versailles for Gotterdammerung. Funds for the many extra rehearsals necessitated by this extraordinary enterprise were raised through a first-ever operatic Kickstarter campaign organized by the RegieFreunden und ParterreTöchter GeMineShaft. In anticipation of the many questions this approach would engender, Met Archivist Robert Tuggle held an emergency session of the Global Opera Archivist League (GOAL) to discuss how to represent these performances in the Met Opera performance database. Fabio Luisi returns to conduct a cast of understudies.

    Despite the unprecedented effort necessary to deliver a completely new Ring production in a single season, the Met will still move forward with 6 of the 7planned new productions. Robert Lepage’s production of Messiaen’s Saint François d’Assise had to postponed amidst rumors of trouble with the 500 remote-controlled animatronic birds being built for that production. Other new productions will include:

    Vanessa by Samuel Barber (Opening Night)
    Production by Bartlett Sher;
    Conductor -- Leonard Slatkin
    Vanessa – Angela Gheorghiu;
    Anatol – Matthew Polenzani
    Erika – Joyce DiDonato
    Old Baroness – Natalie Dessay

    Les Huguenots by Giacomo Meyerbeer
    Production by Jack O’Brien
    Conductor -- Yannick Nézet-Séguin
    Marguerite de Valois – Diana Damrau
    Raoul de Nangis – Eric Cutler
    Valentine -- Krassimira Stoyanova
    Count de Nevers – Dmitri Hvorostovsky
    Marcel – Eva Podles

    The Bassarids by Hans Werner Henze (Met Premiere, co-production with the ENO)
    Production by Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch
    Conductor Simon Rattle
    Dionysus – Stuart Skelton
    Pentheus – Peter Mattei
    Agave – Angela Denoke

    There’s Something about Marie (World Premiere) A seriocomic pastiche on the subject of war featuring music from Wozzeck, Die Soldaten, The Good Solider Schweik, Karl V, The Passenger, Licht, and Miss Saigon.
    Libretto and English Translations by Jeremy Sams
    Production by Mary “Alois” Zimmerman.
    Conductor -- William Christie
    The Soldier -- Nathan Gunn
    Marie -- Karita Mattila
    The General -- Placido Domingo
    Sycorax -- Joyce DiDonato
    Emcee -- Joel Grey
    A Comely Refugee -- Katherine Jenkins

    Barbarella – Music and Lyrics by Mark Adamo (World Premiere).
    Production by Ru Paul
    Sets by Flotilla de Barge
    Costumes by Lady Bunny
    Conductor -- Michael Tilson Thomas
    Barbarella -- Angela Gheorghiu
    Pygar – Rod Gilfry
    The Great Tyrant – Eva Podles

    The revivals will include a number of classic productions, some dating from the Met’s early years in Lincoln Center and even before. As the directors of many of these productions are deceased, Theresa Caputo, the star of the show Long Island Medium on TLC will be brought on as a consultant to channel the intentions of the original directors. In addition, no conductors of revivals will be announced to allow for the possibility of James Levine’s return to conducting. Highlights include:

    Der Rosenkavalier: Anja Harteros -- Marschallin; Sophie Koch – Octavian ; Marliss Petersen -- Sophie; Ferruccio Furlanetto – Baron Ochs; Andrea Bocelli -- Italian Tenor (Metropolitan Opera stage debut); Valzacchi – Placido Domingo

    Werther: Jonas Kaufmann – Werther; Anna Caterina Antonacci – Charlotte (debut)

    Porgy and Bess: In an unusual approach necessitated by Mariusz Kwiecien’s desire to sing Porgy and the restrictions imposed by the Gershwin Estate, Morgan Freeman will act the part and perform the dialogue while Mr. Kwiecien’s sings from the side of the stage. These performances, already referred to as Pierogi and Bess by the opera blogs, will also feature Takesha Meshe Kizart as Bess.

    Anna Bolena: Mariella Devia finally returns to the Met for just 3 performances.

    L’Italiana in Algeri: Isabella – Olga Borodina; Lindoro – Juan Diego Florez; Mustafa – Ildar Abrazakov; Elvira – Kathleen Battle (another return)

    Les vêpres siciliennes (using the existing Vespri production): Duchesse Hélène – Patricia Racette ; Henri –Joseph Calleja; Guy de Monfort – Dmitri Hvorostovsky; Jean Procida -- Ferruccio Furlanetto

    Idomeneo: Idomeneo Joseph Calleja ; Ilia – Lisette Oropesa; Idamante – Anne Sophie von Otter; Elettra – Anna Netrebko

    • Clita del Toro


    • A. Poggia Turra

      Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner!!

      (I spewed Diet Coke when I read ‘Mary “Alois” Zimmerman”) :D

  • Leon Dupuis

    New Productions

    Cosi fan tutte -- The Jersey Shore meets Mozart. Conducted by Philippe Jordan, who is the new Music Director of the Met.
    La Traviata -- A Kennedy Family drama.
    Il Barbiere di Siviglia -- Revised to fix the disaster that currently ensues after Figaro and the count climb over the wall.
    King Lear -- World Premiere of a New Production!
    Lucia di Lammermoor -- The mad scene is revised with more chromaticism. We were going to have Natalie Dessay perform the role, but given recent events, we might just have to use our old standby, Angela Gheorghiu.
    Madame Bovary -- World Premiere of a New Production! (This is the opening night production.)
    Paradise Lost -- World Premiere of a New Production!
    Tosca -- Hurray, we’re bringing back the Franco Zeffirelli production! In the third act, Cavaradossi doses off for a bit, and in the dream sequence he has, the hologram of Pavarotti sings E Lucevan Le Stelle (a la Tupac at Coachella).
    -- For the special New Year’s Eve production, made possible by the blessed support of Mercedes Bass (btw, we think you should marry M. Zuckerberg RIGHT NOW), seats selling at the standard rate of the parterre section for opening night and 500 lottery winners will travel to see the live performances staged at each of the locations and at each of the times where each of the acts is set. Perhaps we should surround Castel Sant’Angelo with rubber, foam and balloons so we can all try jumping to find out once and for all if Tosca can actually jump to her death.

    Repertory Productions

    Aida (Sondra Radvanovsky and Stephanie Blythe – who can have any role she damn well pleases); La Boheme; Capriccio (Renee Fleming); Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci; Dido and Aeneas; Don Giovanni; Elektra; La Fanciulla del West; Der Fliegende Hollander; Iphigenie en Tauride; Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (please bring back this thrillingly sexy production); Madama Butterfly; Makropulos Case; Mefistofele; Le Nozze di Figaro; Norma (Angela Meade; while good, she’s not THAT good yet; she’s forced to stick with Norma until she wows us with something else); Orfeo ed Euridice; Pelleas et Melisande; Romeo et Juliette (Hei-Kyung Hong, a gem); Der Rosenkavalier; Rusalka; Salome; Samson et Dalila; Tristan und Isolde; Il Trittico (Patrricia Racette!); Turandot (?); Die Zauberflote.

    The Ring Cycle -- Hurray, we’re bring back a new and improved the Otto Schenk production! With the recent technological innovation, the gods will finally walk along the rainbow bridge, and horses will fly on stage.