Metropolitan Opera 2014-2015

“Met Music Director James Levine, back to full strength, will resume his typical schedule of six operas in the 2014-15 season.” Here we go, cher public, details of the Met’s (to be perfectly frank) not particularly spectacular mid-decade season.

New Productions

OPENING NIGHT: Le Nozze di Figaro – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Opening: September 22, 2014
Conductor: James Levine/Edo de Waart
Production: Richard Eyre
Set and Costume Design: Rob Howell
Lighting Design: Paule Constable
Choreographer: Sara Erde
Live in HD: October 18, 2014

The season opens with a new production of Mozart’s elegant masterpiece of marital discord, Le Nozze di FigaroJames Levine conducts the new staging byRichard Eyre, whose Met credits include the 2011 hit production of Carmen and the current season’s Werther. Eyre’s staging of the opera, in which the romantic bonds of two couples are tested over the course of one eventful day, is set in a stately manor in 1920s Seville.

Ildar Abdrazakov, star of this season’s Prince Igor and an acclaimed Figaro at the Met in the past, sings the title role in the premiere performances. The opening night cast also includes Marlis Petersen as Figaro’s quick-witted bride-to-be, Susanna; Peter Mattei in one of his most acclaimed roles as Count Almaviva;Marina Poplavskaya in her role debut as Almaviva’s wife, the long-suffering Countess; and Isabel Leonard as the boisterous page Cherubino.

A second cast, led by Edo de Waart, takes the leading roles starting December 4. Three artists who have sung their roles to acclaim in past Met seasons—Erwin Schrott as Figaro, Danielle de Niese as Susanna, and Mariusz Kwiecien as Count Almaviva—star opposite two debuting artists, American soprano Amanda Majeski as the Countess and Italian mezzo-soprano Serena Malfi as Cherubino.

 

MET PREMIERE: The Death of Klinghoffer – John Adams

Opening: October 20, 2014
Conductor: David Robertson
Production: Tom Morris
Set Design: Tom Pye
Costume Design: Laura Hopkins
Lighting Design: Jean Kalman
Video Design: Finn Ross
Sound Design: Mark Grey
Choreographer: Arthur Pita
Live in HD: November 15, 2014

John Adams’s meditative work, based on the 1985 hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro and the subsequent murder of an American Jewish passenger, has its Met premiere. The Death of Klinghoffer is the third Adams opera to be presented at the Met in recent seasons, following the success of Doctor Atomic and Nixon in China. The Met premiere, a co-production with English National Opera, is directed by Tom Morris, whose other credits include the international theatrical hit War Horse.

David Robertson, who led the 2013 Met premiere of Nico Muhly’s Two Boys, conducts the opera, which will star Paulo Szot as the Captain of the Achille LauroAlan Opie as the title character; Michaela Martens as Klinghoffer’s wife, Marilyn; Sean Pannikar as Molqi; Aubrey Allicock in his Met debut as Mamoud; andRyan Speedo Green as “Rambo.”

 

The Merry Widow – Franz Lehár

Opening: December 31, 2014
Conductor: Andrew Davis/Fabio Luisi
Production: Susan Stroman
Set Design: Julian Crouch
Costume Design: William Ivey Long
Lighting Design: Paule Constable
Choreographer: Susan Stroman
English Translation: Jeremy Sams
Live in HD: January 17, 2015

Broadway director and choreographer Susan Stroman, whose many credits include the Tony Award-winning musicals Crazy For You, Contact, and The Producers, makes her Met debut with a lavish new staging of Lehár’s effervescent operetta The Merry Widow. The operetta will be performed in English, in a translation by Jeremy Sams. Lehár’s best-known composition has been an audience favorite since its 1905 premiere and features a great deal of well-known music, including “Vilja,” “You’ll Find Me at Maxim’s,” and “The Merry Widow Waltz.”

As Hanna, the widowed Parisian millionairess, Renée Fleming will add a new character to her wide-ranging Met repertory of 22 roles. Andrew Davis will conduct a cast that also includes Nathan Gunn as Hanna’s lover, Danilo; Alek Shrader as the young nobleman, Camille de Rosillon; Thomas Allen as the scheming Baron Zeta; and soprano Kelli O’Hara, currently starring on Broadway in the new musical The Bridges of Madison County, in her Met debut as the Baron’s coquettish wife, Valencienne.

In April, Fabio Luisi leads a new cast in the principal roles, headed by Susan Graham as Hanna, a role she sang at the Met to acclaim in 2004. The cast also includes Rod Gilfry as Danilo, Stephen Costello as Camille, Alan Opie as Baron Zeta, and Danielle de Niese as Valencienne.

 

MET PREMIERE: Iolanta – Peter Tchaikovsky

Duke Bluebeard’s Castle – Béla Bartók

Opening: January 26, 2015
Conductor: Valery Gergiev/Pavel Smelkov
Production: Mariusz Trelinski
Set Design: Boris Kudlicka
Costume Design: Marek Adamski
Lighting Design: Marc Heinz
Video Projection Design: Bartek Macias
Choreographer: Tomasz Wygoda
Live in HD: February 14, 2015

Mariusz Trelinski, artistic director of Warsaw’s Polish National Opera, makes his Met debut with a double bill of two rarely performed one-act works: Tchaikovsky’s romantic fairy tale Iolanta, about the psychological awakening of a blind princess, and Bartók’s harrowing Duke Bluebeard’s Castle, in which newlywed Judith must open seven locked doors to discover the full depths of her husband’s dark secrets. Valery Gergiev conducts the double bill, which is a co-production with Teatr Wielki-Polish National Opera.

Anna Netrebko stars as the title character in Iolanta, in her second Tchaikovsky role at the Met; she opened the 2013-14 season to great acclaim as Tatiana in his Eugene OneginPiotr Beczala and Alexey Markov sing Tristan Vaudémont and Robert, rivals for Iolanta’s love; baritone Elchin Azizov makes his Met debut as the physician Ibn-Hakia; and Alexei Tanovitski sings King René, Iolanta’s protective father.

Nadja Michael, who made her Met debut as Verdi’s Lady Macbeth in 2012, sings the central role of Judith in Duke Bluebeard’s Castle, with Mikhail Petrenkoas her mysterious and menacing new husband.

 

MET PREMIERE: La Donna del Lago – Gioachino Rossini

Opening: February 16, 2015
Conductor: Michele Mariotti
Production: Paul Curran
Set and Costume Design: Kevin Knight
Lighting Design: Duane Schuler
Projection Design: Driscoll Otto
Live in HD: March 14, 2015

Joyce DiDonato stars in the virtuosic title role of the bel canto rarity La Donna del Lago, Rossini’s adaptation of Sir Walter Scott’s epic poem The Lady of the LakeJuan Diego Flórez sings his fifth Rossini hero at the Met as Giacomo, the benevolent king of Scotland whose life unexpectedly intersects with the destiny of the lady of the lake.

Michele Mariotti conducts debuting Scottish director Paul Curran’s production of the opera, a co-production with Santa Fe Opera, where it premiered in 2013. The cast also includes Daniela Barcellona in the trouser role of Malcolm, John Osborn as Rodrigo, and Oren Gradus as Duglas.

 

Cavalleria Rusticana – Pietro Mascagni / Pagliacci – Ruggero Leoncavallo

Opening: April 14, 2015
Conductor: Fabio Luisi
Production: David McVicar
Set Design: Rae Smith
Costume Design: Moritz Junge
Lighting Design: Paule Constable
Choreographer: Andrew George
Vaudeville Consultant: Emil Wolk
Live in HD: April 25, 2015

Fabio Luisi conducts and David McVicar directs the first new Met production of the popular verismo double bill in 45 years. McVicar’s staging will highlight the contrast between the repressed, ritualistic morality of Cavalleria Rusticana and the glitzy volatility of Pagliacci’s twisted farce.

Marcelo Álvarez makes his company role debuts in both the leading tenor parts: the unrepentant seducer Turiddu and the jealous clown Canio. Eva-Maria Westbroek will sing Santuzza, the abandoned woman at the heart of Cavalleria Rusticana, with Željko Lucic as Alfio. Patricia Racette will star as Canio’s ill-fated wife, Nedda, in Pagliacci, with George Gagnidze in his first Met performances as Tonio.

 

Repertory

The Met’s 2014-15 season features 18 revivals of works by 12 composers in a variety of operatic styles, ranging from Mozart to Shostakovich.

Two rarely heard operas will receive Met revivals in the 2014-15 season. In October, James Conlon conducts Shostakovich’s searing Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, starring Eva-Maria Westbroek as the headstrong heroine, Brandon Jovanovich as Sergei, Raymond Very as Zinovy, and Anatoli Kotscherga as Boris. The opera was last performed at the Met in 2000.

In May, James Levine leads Stravinsky’s only full-length opera, The Rake’s Progress. The cast includes Paul Appleby as Tom Rakewell, Layla Claire as Anne Trulove, Stephanie Blythe as Baba the Turk, and Gerald Finley as the diabolical Nick Shadow.

Levine will also conduct next season’s Ernani, with Plácido Domingo adding a role to his extensive Met repertory as Don Carlo, opposite Angela Meade as Elvira, Francesco Meli in the title role, and Dmitri Belosselskiy as de Silva. In April, Levine leads a revival of Un Ballo in Maschera, with three original cast members of David Alden’s production—Sondra Radvanovsky (Amelia), Dolora Zajick (Ulrica), and Dmitri Hvorostovsky (Anckarström)—joined by Piotr Beczala as Gustavo and Heidi Stober as Oscar.

In December, Levine leads Wagner’s grand human comedy Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg in its first Met performances since 2007. Johan Reuter stars as Hans Sachs, with Johan Botha as Walther, Annette Dasch as Eva, Karen Cargill as Magdalene, Paul Appleby as David, Johannes Martin Kränzle in his Met debut as Beckmesser,  and Hans-Peter König as Pogner.

Levine will also conduct some February and March performances of Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann, starring Matthew Polenzani in the title role andAudrey Luna (Olympia), Susanna Phillips (Antonia), and Elena Maximova (Giulietta) as three of the women Hoffmann unsuccessfully romances. These performances also feature Karine Deshayes and Laurent Naouri in their first Met performances of Nicklausse and the Four Villains, respectively. Earlier performances of the opera, beginning in January, will be conducted by Yves Abel and star Vittorio Grigolo in the title role, with Hibla Gerzmava singing all four heroines, Kate Lindsey as Nicklausse, and Thomas Hampson as the Four Villains.

Franco Zeffirelli’s popular staging of La Bohème returns with multiple casts, including Angela GheorghiuKristine Opolais, and Ekaterina Scherbachenkoas Mimì opposite Ramón Vargas and Bryan Hymel as Rodolfo. Myrtò Papatanasiu (in her Met debut), Susanna Phillips, and Sonya Yoncheva sing Musetta, andMariusz KwiecienQuinn Kelsey, and Luca Salsi share the role of Marcello. Riccardo Frizza conducts all performances of La Bohème at the Met this season.

Fabio Luisi leads a revival of Verdi’s Macbeth, with Anna Netrebko in her first North American performances as Lady Macbeth. Željko Lucic sings the title role in a revival of Adrian Noble’s 2007 production, with Joseph Calleja as Macduff and René Pape as Banquo.

Richard Eyre’s production of Carmen returns with two casts, each led by an acclaimed Carmen of recent Met seasons. Anita Rachvelishvili sings the title role in the opera’s fall performances, with Aleksandrs Antonenko and Anita Hartig in their company role debuts as Don José and Micaëla, and Massimo Cavalletti andIldar Abdrazakov as Escamillo. Beginning in February, Elina Garanca returns to the role she sang in the premiere of Eyre’s production, opposite her original co-starRoberto Alagna as Don José. Jonas Kaufmann takes the role of the military officer destroyed by his love for Carmen for some performances in March. American soprano Ailyn Pérez makes her Met debut as Micaëla in the spring cast, as does Hungarian bass Gábor Bretz as Escamillo. Pablo Heras-Casado and Louis Langrée conduct this season’s performances.

This season will include the first full-length German performances of Die Zauberflöte at the Met since 2010. The cast for Julie Taymor’s production will includeToby Spence as Tamino, Pretty Yende and Miah Persson as Pamina, Ana Durlovski (in her Met debut) and Kathryn Lewek as Queen of the Night, Markus Werbaas Papageno, and René Pape and Franz-Josef Selig as Sarastro. Adam Fischer conducts.

Marco Armiliato will conduct both La Traviata and Aida this season, with Plácido Domingo leading some performances of the latter opera. Marina Rebeka, who made a notable Met debut as Donna Anna in the 2011 new production premiere of Don Giovanni, sings her first Met performances of Violetta in Traviata, withStephen Costello and Ludovic Tézier in company role debuts as Alfredo and Giorgio Germont. Later in the run, Marina Poplavskaya reprises her Violetta, which she sang in the new production premiere of Willy Decker’s staging, opposite the Alfredo of debuting Italian tenor Francesco Demuro.

Aida will star Liudmyla Monastyrska and Latonia Moore, both of whom made acclaimed Met debuts as the Ethiopian princess in 2012, with Oksana Dykaassuming the role later in the season. Olga Borodina reprises her celebrated Amneris, sharing the role with Violeta Urmana, who sings her first Met performances as the jealous princess. Marcello Giordani and Marco Berti sing the hero Radamès, and Željko Lucic and Andrzej Dobber sing Amonasro, Aida’s father.

Michele Mariotti conducts Isabel Leonard as Rosina and Lawrence Brownlee as Count Almaviva in Bartlett Sher’s production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia, which features Christopher Maltman in his first Met performances of the title role.

The Met’s holiday presentation will be Richard Jones’s fanciful staging of Hansel and Gretel, conducted by Andrew DavisChristine Schäfer reprises her Gretel, with debuting mezzo-soprano Christine Rice as Hansel and Robert Brubaker returning to the role of the evil Witch. The opera, performed in English, will feature lower ticket prices and weekday matinee performances.

Alan Gilbert returns to the Met for the first time since his 2008 debut to conduct Don Giovanni, starring Peter Mattei in the title role. Elza van den Heevermakes her company role debut as Donna Anna, with Emma Bell as Donna Elvira, Kate Lindsey as Zerlina, Luca Pisaroni as Leporello, Dmitry Korchak in his Met debut as Don Ottavio, and James Morris as the Commendatore.

Diana Damrau adds a new title character to her Met repertory when she takes on the starring role in Massenet’s Manon, opposite Vittorio Grigolo as the Chevalier des Grieux. Emmanuel Villaume conducts the revival of Laurent Pelly’s production, which also stars Russell Braun as Lescaut and Nicolas Testé as the Comte des Grieux.

Albina Shagimuratova, an acclaimed Queen of the Night at the Met earlier this season, makes her company role debut as the title character in Lucia di Lammermoor. Maurizio Benini conducts a cast that also includes Joseph Calleja as Edgardo and Fabio Capitanucci as Enrico.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads Don Carlo, which he also conducted to acclaim at the 2010 new production premiere of Nicholas Hytner’s staging. The cast includes Yonghoon Lee in the title role, Barbara Frittoli as Elisabeth de Valois, Ekaterina Gubanova and Nadia Krasteva (in her Met debut) as Eboli, Simon Keenlyside as Rodrigo, Ferruccio Furlanetto as Philip II, and James Morris as the Grand Inquisitor.

The Met: Live in HD 2014-15

The 2014-15 season of The Met: Live in HD will feature 10 live transmissions of select Saturday matinees to movie theaters around the world. The HD season opens on October 11 with Macbeth and continues with Le Nozze di Figaro (October 18), Carmen (November 1), The Death of Klinghoffer (November 15), Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (December 13), The Merry Widow (January 17), Les Contes d’Hoffmann (January 31), Iolanta and Duke Bluebeard’s Castle (February 14),La Donna del Lago (March 14), and Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci (April 25).

The Peabody and Emmy Award-winning series of live transmissions into movie theaters, which enters its ninth season in 2014-15, currently reaches more than 2,000 theaters in 65 countries. The Met’s groundbreaking series launched in 2006 and quickly became the world’s leading alternative cinema content provider. More than 14 million tickets have been sold since the series’ inception.

Tickets for the 10 transmissions in the 2014-15 Live in HD season will go on sale in August in the U.S. and Canada, with Met Members offered priority before tickets are made available to the general public. International ticket sales dates and details on ordering tickets for the 2014-15 Live in HD series vary from country to country and will be announced separately by individual distributors.

The Met: Live in HD series is made possible by a generous grant from its founding sponsor, The Neubauer Family Foundation. Global corporate sponsorship of The Met: Live in HD is provided by Bloomberg. Transmission of The Met: Live in HD in Canada is made possible thanks to the generosity of Jacqueline Desmarais, in memory of Paul G. Desmarais Sr.

Within months of their initial live transmissions, the Live in HD programs are shown on PBS. The PBS series, Great Performances at the Met, is produced in association with PBS and WNET, with support from Toll Brothers, America’s luxury home builder®. Additional funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Met Debuts

Met debuts this season, in chronological order, include Greek soprano Myrtò Papatanasiu as Musetta in La Bohème (September 23);  Macedonian sopranoAna Durlovski as Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte (October 6); American bass-baritone Aubrey Allicock as Mamoud in The Death of Klinghoffer (October 20); Italian baritone Alessio Arduini as Schaunard in La Bohème (November 14);  German baritone Johannes Martin Kränzle as Beckmesser in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (December 2); American soprano Amanda Majeski as the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro (December 4); Italian mezzo-soprano Serena Malfi as Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro (December 4); English mezzo-soprano Christine Rice as Hansel in Hansel and Gretel (December 18); Italian tenor Francesco Demuro as Alfredo in La Traviata (December 30); American soprano Kelli O’Hara as Valencienne in The Merry Widow (December 31); Azerbaijani baritone Elchin Azizov as Ibn-Haki in Iolanta (January 26); Russian tenor Dmitry Korchak as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni (February 4); Czech bass-baritone Adam Plachetka as Masetto in Don Giovanni (February 4); Hungarian bass-baritone Gábor Bretz as Escamillo in Carmen (February 6); American soprano Ailyn Pérez as Micaëla in Carmen (February 6); Armenian soprano Lianna Haroutounian as Elisabeth de Valois in Don Carlo (April 15); Bulgarian mezzo-soprano Nadia Krasteva as Eboli in Don Carlo (April 15); and English bass Brindley Sherratt as Trulove in The Rake’s Progress     (May 1).

René Pape Recital

René Pape will take the Met stage for a solo recital on Sunday, September 28, joined by pianist Camillo Radicke. The program will feature works by Dvorák, Beethoven, Ravel, and Mussorgsky. Pape, one of the most acclaimed artists on the Met roster, has sung 22 roles with the company and will sing both Banquo inMacbeth and Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte in the 2014-15 season. Pape will be the first bass to sing a recital on the Met stage since Martti Talvela in 1984.

The MET Orchestra at Carnegie Hall

The MET Orchestra continues its highly acclaimed annual series at Carnegie Hall with three Sunday afternoon concerts conducted by James Levine. The program for the October 12 concert, will include Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 in C, K. 467, featuring soloist Maurizio Pollini, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 9.

On February 8, the program will include Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 in D, Op. 36; Berg’s “Seven Early Songs,” with soloist Elina Garanca; Carter’s Three Illusions; and Schumann’s Symphony No. 2 in C, Op. 61.

The final concert of the season, on May 17, will begin with Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 15, featuring soloist Yefim Bronfman, and conclude with Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, Op. 14.

For tickets and additional information on the MET Orchestra concerts at Carnegie Hall, the public may visit www.carnegiehall.org or call (212) 247-7800.

The complete season brochure may be accessed here.