Cher Public

Apathy greets announcement of Metropolitan Opera’s 2017-2018 season

An authentically reactionary revival of Franco Zeffirelli‘s sacred production of Puccini’s Tosca is the highlight of the Met’s 2017-2018 season. The tragically underrepresented Sir David McVicar, absent from the Met for nearly two weeks now, has consented to do traffic direction for the cast of Kristine Opolais, Jonas Kaufmann and Bryn Terfel, all of whom will surely show up. More dreary news follows the jump. 

New Productions

Norma – Vincenzo Bellini                                                            OPENING NIGHT 

Opening: September 25, 2017

Conductors: Carlo Rizzi / Joseph Colaneri

Production: Sir David McVicar

Set Designer: Robert Jones

Costume Designer: Moritz Junge

Lighting Designer: Paule Constable

Movement Director: Leah Hausman

Live in HD: October 7, 2017


The season opens with a new production of Bellini’s bel canto tragedy Norma, starring Sondra Radvanovsky in the title role, which she has sung to acclaim at the Met in 2013, as well as at the Canadian Opera Company, San Francisco Opera, Bavarian State Opera, Gran Teatre del Liceu, and Lyric Opera of Chicago—making her one of the world’s leading interpreters of the iconic title character. Joyce DiDonato co-stars as Norma’s colleague and rival, Adalgisa, opposite Joseph Calleja as Pollione and Matthew Rose as Oroveso. On October 16 and 20, Marina Rebeka will make her Met role debut as the Druid priestess, Norma. Beginning December 1, the production will star Angela Meade as Norma with Jamie Barton reprising the role of Adalgisa and led by Joseph Colaneri. Sir David McVicar directs the production, having staged seven Met productions including Verdi’s Il Trovatore, Handel’s Giulio Cesare, the double bill of Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, and Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, Maria Stuarda, and Roberto Devereux.


The Exterminating Angel – Thomas Adès                                   MET PREMIERE

Opening: October 26, 2017

Conductor: Thomas Adès

Libretto: Tom Cairns, in collaboration with the composer

Production: Tom Cairns

Set and Costume Designer: Hildegard Bechtler

Lighting Designer: Jon Clark

Projection Designer: Tal Yarden

Choreographer: Amir Hosseinpour

Live in HD: November 18, 2017


The Exterminating Angel has its Met premiere, conducted by the composer, Thomas Adès. The 2016 opera, co-commissioned by the Met and sung in English, is based on the screenplay by Luis Buñuel and Luis Alcoriza for the acclaimed 1962 Buñuel film. Directed by the librettist Tom Cairns, the ensemble cast features Audrey Luna as Leticia Maynar; Amanda Echalaz as Lucia de Nobile; Sally Matthews as Silvia de Ávila and Sophie Bevan as Beatriz, both in Met debuts; Alice Coote as Leonora Palma; Christine Rice as Blanca Delgado; Iestyn Davies as Francisco de Ávila; Joseph Kaiser as Edundo de Nobile; Frédéric Antoun in his Met debut as Raúl Yebenes; David Portillo as Edmundo; David Adam Moore in his Met debut as Col. Álvaro Gómez; Rod Gilfry as Alberto Roc; Kevin Burdette as Señor Russell; Christian Van Horn as Julio; and John Tomlinson as Dr Carlos Conde. The Exterminating Angel is a co-commission and co-production with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Royal Danish Theatre; and Salzburg Festival, where the production premiered in 2016.


Tosca  – Giacomo Puccini                                                   NEW YEAR’S EVE GALA

Opening: December 31, 2017

Conductor: Andris Nelsons / Bertrand de Billy

Production: Sir David McVicar

Set and Costume Designer: John Macfarlane

Lighting Designer: David Finn

Movement Director: Leah Hausman

Live in HD: January 27, 2018


Andris Nelsons conducts a new staging of Puccini’s dramatic tragedy, directed by Sir David McVicar. Kristine Opolais and Jonas Kaufmann star as the heroine Tosca and her lover Cavaradossi, with Bryn Terfel as the villainous Scarpia. In April, Anna Netrebko adds a new role to her Met repertory as the title diva, opposite Marcelo Álvarez as Cavaradossi. Michael Volle and George Gagnidze share the role of Scarpia during April and May performances with Bertrand de Billy conducting.


Così fan tutte   Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart                                           

Opening: March 15, 2018

Conductor: David Robertson

Production: Phelim McDermott

Set Designer: Tom Pye

Costume Designer: Laura Hopkins

Lighting Designer: Paule Constable

Live in HD: March 31, 2018


Phelim McDermott returns to the Met with a new staging of Mozart’s comedy Così fan tutte, led by David Robertson. The production, set in Coney Island during the 1950s, features Amanda Majeski and Serena Malfi as the conflicted sisters Fiordiligi and Dorabella; Tony Award winner Kelli O’Hara as their feisty maid, Despina; Ben Bliss and Adam Plachetka as the sisters’ fiancés, Ferrando and Guglielmo; and Christopher Maltman as the cynical Don Alfonso. Così fan tutte is a co-production with the English National Opera, where this staging premiered in 2014, in collaboration with Improbable.


Cendrillon  – Jules Massenet                                                          MET PREMIERE

Opening: April 12, 2018

Conductor: Bertrand de Billy

Production: Laurent Pelly

Set Designer: Barbara de Limburg

Costume Designer: Laurent Pelly

Lighting Designer: Duane Schuler

Choreographer: Laura Scozzi

Live in HD: April 28, 2018


Massenet’s enchanting opera Cendrillon, based on the Cinderella story, premieres at the Met conducted by Bertrand de Billy in a staging by Laurent Pelly, whose Met credits include staging Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment and Massenet’s Manon. Joyce DiDonato stars as the title character, a role she has sung to acclaim at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, The Santa Fe Opera, and Royal Opera, Covent Garden. The cast also features Kathleen Kim as the Fairy Godmother, Alice Coote as Prince Charming, Stephanie Blythe as the evil stepmother Madame de la Haltière, and Laurent Naouri as Pandolfe. Cendrillon is produced in association with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London; Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona; Théâtre Royal de La Monnaie, Brussels; and Opéra de Lille. This production was first performed at The Santa Fe Opera in 2006.


Requiem  – Giuseppe Verdi                                                                        CONCERT

Opening: November 24, 2017

Conductor: James Levine


Met Music Director Emeritus James Levine will conduct four concert performances of Verdi’s Requiem, a powerful meditation on death, featuring soloists Krassimira Stoyanova, Ekaterina Semenchuk, Aleksandrs Antonenko, and Ferruccio Furlanetto, along with the Met’s orchestra and chorus.


Noteworthy Met Debuts

Notable Met debuts this season include Irish mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught as Nicklausse in Les Contes d’Hoffmann (September 26); South African soprano Golda Schultz as Pamina in Die Zauberflöte (September 27); British conductor Alexander Soddy leading La Bohème (October 2); American soprano Angel Blue as Mimì in La Bohème (October 2); British soprano Sally Matthews as Silvia de Ávila in The Exterminating Angel (October 26): Italian conductor Jader Bignamini leading Madama Butterfly (November 2); German soprano Christiane Karg as Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro (December 6); American conductor Ward Stare leading The Merry Widow (December 14); Venezuelan conductor Domingo Hindoyan leading L’Elisir d’Amore (January 16); Italian baritone Davide Luciano as Belcore in L’Elisir d’Amore (January 16); German soprano Evelyn Herlitzius as Kundry in Parsifal (February 5); German mezzo-soprano Michaela Schuster as Klytämnestra in Elektra (March 1); and Russian bass Alexander Vinogradov as Walter in Luisa Miller (March 29).

In addition, Lithuanian conductor Mirga Gražinyt?-Tyla makes her first Met appearance, leading the MET Orchestra in a Carnegie Hall concert on May 18.


Repertory Highlights

The 2017-18 season will feature 20 revivals of works by 14 composers starring many of the world’s leading opera singers and conductors.

Met Music Director Emeritus James Levine conducts Mozart’s opera, Die Zauberflöte, sung in full-length performances in its original German. The cast features Golda Schultz as Pamina, Kathryn Lewek as the Queen of the Night, Charles Castronovo as Tamino, Markus Werba as Papageno, Christian Van Horn as Sprecher, and Tobias Kehrer as Sarastro.

Il Trovatore, also conducted by Levine, stars Maria Agresta as Leonora, Anita Rachvelishvili as Azucena, Yonghoon Lee as Manrico, Quinn Kelsey and Luca Salsi as Count di Luna, and Štefan Kocán and Kwangchul Youn as Ferrando.

Levine also conducts a rare revival of Luisa Miller, which has not been seen at the Met since 2006. Sonya Yoncheva sings the title role, opposite Piotr Beczala as Luisa’s lover Rodolfo, in the story of a young woman who sacrifices her own happiness in an attempt to save her father’s life. The cast also includes Plácido Domingo as Luisa’s father Miller with Olesya Petrova as Federica, and Alexander Vinogradov and Dmitry Belosselskiy as Walter and Wurm, the ruthless men determined to tear Luisa and Rodolfo apart.

Met Music Director Designate Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts a revival of Parsifal, starring Klaus Florian Vogt in the title role, with Evelyn Herlitzius as Kundry, Peter Mattei as Amfortas, Evgeny Nikitin as Klingsor, and René Pape as Gurnemanz.

In March, Nézet-Séguin returns to the Met to conduct Elektra starring Christine Goerke in the title role, with Elza van den Heever as Chrysothemis, Michaela Schuster as Klytämnestra, Jay Hunter Morris as Aegisth, and Mikhail Petrenko as Orest.

Rossini’s rarity set in ancient Babylon, Semiramide, which has not been seen at the Met in 25 years, will be conducted by Maurizio Benini and feature Angela Meade in the title role, with Elizabeth DeShong as Arsace, Javier Camarena as Idreno, Ildar Abdrazakov as Assur, and Ryan Speedo Green as Oroe.

Ailyn Pérez stars in her role debut as the title character in Thaïs opposite Gerald Finley as Athanaël, with Jean-François Borras as Nicias and David Pittsinger as Palémon. The performances will be conducted by Emmanuel Villaume.

Les Contes d’Hoffmann, conducted by Johannes Debus, stars Vittorio Grigolo as Hoffmann with Erin Morley as Olympia, Anita Hartig as Antonia/Stella, Oksana Volkova as Giulietta, Tara Erraught as Nicklausse/The Muse, Laurent Naouri as the Four Villains, and Christophe Mortagne as the Four Servants.

Three Puccini revivals will be presented in the 2017-18 season. La Bohème stars Angel Blue as Mimì, opposite Dmytro Popov as Rodolfo with Brigitta Kele as Musetta and Lucas Meachem as Marcello. Later performances star Anita Hartig and Sonya Yoncheva as Mimì; Jean-François Borras, Russell Thomas, and Michael Fabiano as Rodolfo; and Michael Todd Simpson as Marcello. The opera will be conducted by Alexander Soddy and Marco Armiliato.

Madama Butterfly stars Hui He and Ermonela Jaho as Cio-Cio-San with Maria Zifchak as Suzuki, Roberto Aronica and Luis Chapa as Pinkerton, and David Bizic, Dwayne Croft, and Roberto Frontali as Sharpless. Jader Bignamini and Marco Armiliato conduct all performances.

Turandot features Oksana Dyka and Martina Serafin sharing the title role of the icy princess, with Maria Agresta, Hei-Kyung Hong, and Guanqun Yu as Liù. Marcelo Álvarez reprises the role of Calàf, and James Morris and Alexander Tsymbalyuk share the role of Timur.

Le Nozze di Figaro stars Rachel Willis-Sørensen and Sonya Yoncheva as the Countess, Christiane Karg and Nadine Sierra as Susanna, Serena Malfi and Isabel Leonard as Cherubino, Luca Pisaroni and Mariusz Kwiecien as the Count, and Adam Plachetka and Ildar Abdrazakov as the title character. Harry Bicket conducts all performances.

Susan Graham reprises Hanna Glawari in The Merry Widow conducted by Ward Stare. The cast also includes Andriana Chuchman as Valencienne, Paul Groves as Danilo, David Portillo as Camille de Rosillon, and Thomas Allen as Baron Mirko Zeta.

The double bill of Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci is conducted by Nicola Luisotti, which features Roberto Alagna in the leading tenor roles of Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana and Canio in Pagliacci. Cavalleria Rusticana also features Ekaterina Semenchuk and Eva-Maria Westbroek as Santuzza, and Željko Lu?i? as Alfio. Pagliacci stars Aleksandra Kurzak as Nedda, George Gagnidze as Tonio, and Alessio Arduini as Silvio.

Pretty Yende and Matthew Polenzani star as the spirited Adina and Nemorino, the simple peasant who falls in love with her, in L’Elisir d’Amore, which also stars Davide Luciano as Belcore and Ildebrando D’Arcangelo as Dulcamara. All performances are conducted by Domingo Hindoyan.

Lucia di Lammermoor returns to the Met starring Olga Peretyatko, Jessica Pratt, and Pretty Yende in the title role. Vittorio Grigolo and Michael Fabiano share the role of Edgardo with Massimo Cavalletti, Luca Salsi, and Quinn Kelsey as Enrico and Vitalij Kowaljow and Alexander Vinogradov as Raimondo. Roberto Abbado conducts all performances.

Ailyn Pérez and Bryan Hymel star as the doomed lovers in Roméo et Juliette with Joshua Hopkins as Mercutio and Kwangchul Youn as Frère Laurent. Plácido Domingo conducts all performances.


Holiday Presentations

            The Met will stage two holiday presentations during the 2017-18 season: Julie Taymor’s production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Richard Jones’s staging of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel. Continuing a tradition that began in 2006, the English-language, abridged performances, designed to make the opera more accessible, will be sold at reduced ticket prices for both operas.

            The cast of The Magic Flute includes Hanna-Elisabeth Müller as Pamina, Kathryn Lewek as the Queen of the Night, Charles Castronovo as Tamino, Nathan Gunn as Papageno, Alfred Walker as the Speaker, and Tobias Kehrer as Sarastro. Edo de Waart will conduct the performances beginning November 25.

            The cast of Hansel and Gretel features Lisette Oropesa as Gretel, Tara Erraught as Hansel, Dolora Zajick as Gertrude, Gerhard Siegel as the Witch, and Quinn Kelsey as Peter. Donald Runnicles will conduct the performances opening on December 18.

Photo by Met Technical Department

  • Ivy Lin

    Wait they’re performing Magic Flute twice in one season, once in English and once in German? Easy way to save money i guess.

  • I’m not as down on the season as La Cieca, though I agree it’s far from an exciting one. In light of the recent cancellation, and seeing the rest of season, one can see how desperately needed a Bieito Forza was for this line-up.

    Happy about a new Semiramide. And the presentation of a new work is always a good thing, though I hope that musically, Ades’s Exterminating Angel isn’t as murky as his Tempest (which had some good parts but wasn’t a complete winner in my books).

    I was surprised and disappointed that Netrebko is not getting the Tosca opening. I imagine it’s because of the scheduling. Opening a production on NYE means rehearsing through Christmas and she probably wants to spend that time with her family.

    That Parsifal cast really is wonderful. Vogt and Kaufmann are on the same level for me. I understand that, in-house, Kaufmann was saving himself a lot for the big moments but this kind of thing doesn’t come across on recording (which is how I heard it). Vocally, Vogt’s voice evokes the idea of The Innocent better. So, he could end up being an improvement. Herlitzius is a definite improvement over Dalayman who I thought was a solid Kundry but not very special. Gurnemanz is one of Pape’s greatest roles. And I guess we’ll see how YNS fares in Wagner. Based on his mature Verdi (Don Carlo and Otello), he should have the chops. And the upcoming Holländer will give us more of a clue (though that is vastly different opera than Parsifal).

    I’m delighted that the Met has discovered that they can cast big Italian baritone roles with someone other than Lucic. Glad to see Quinn Kelsey getting a crack at both Di Luna and Enrico. Like many here, I’m done with Domingo in baritone roles but at least Papa Miller is not a huge role. And he does well with sympathetic father figures.

    On the whole, there is some very good casting throughout the season, with some of the best exponents of roles on display (like Goerke’s Elektra). I doubt many (if any) other houses can equal this level of casting across so many productions. The programming, on the other hand, is uber safe.

    • Yige Li

      I don’t understand why anyone thought Netrebko would sing the New Year’s Eve Tosca. She’s opening La Scala in “Andrea Chenier”, which begins on Dec. 7, and should end late Dec. How can she come to NYC for a new production and a role debut for her just after that considering the amount of time needed in rehearsal room?

      • Camille

        Oh thank you for that information and I shall be on the lookout for that prima. It used to be shown here but I’ve missed it now the last few seasons and perhaps it’s no longer broadcast to the U.S.? Perhaps I haven’t looked hard enough as the theatre I used to see the Scala primas has gone out of business—?

        I had only hoped she would take over the prima as it is a role I have long wished to hear her in and have no wish to hear the other soprano in, so—

        • Yige Li

          I too remember there were some cinemas (but very few!) in the States showing Scala prima, not sure it still happens. Meanwhile, I believe RAI 3, Arte would live stream (maybe with 1 or 2 hour delay) the prima. It could happen that only Italian IP can access RAI streaming, French and German IP can access Arte streaming, and that’s when a VPN is called for. Or if you wait for one or two days, definitely the video would appear somewhere online.

          • Camille

            Yes, Yige, the RAI streams are a little tricky to pick up here — there is a RAI TV network one may subscribe to, and I do have channel 8 (which I haven’t listened to in a while now and should!), but thanks for the further information as I will try RAI 3 and see what happens.

      • Francisco Alejandro Salazar

        Even then she was never scheduled to open the production. Kristine opolais was always the one who would open. And trovatore seemed like a good idea except I don’t understand why they scheduled it for January when Netrebko was still Milan. Very confused but at least she’s doing six. Hope Salzburg or another house gives her a new production so we can at least get a recording of her tosca. At this point there never be a Manon lescaut DVD and with tosca who knows

        • Yige Li

          No. I think all their 6 performances of Chenier are in December. So she’s not in Milan in January. There’re other reasons.

      • Thanks for the info. I had not checked Netrebko’s schedule but that explains why she’s otherwise engaged around the time of that Tosca opening.

  • Luvtennis

    Am I the only person who wonders if this Board is slowly tightening the leash on Gelb? Or is it financial reality setting in finally? Two years after Dawn Fatale’s wonderful expose, and the Met is still struggling to solve its various dilemmas.

    • To me, almost entire season’s programming is a reaction to falling ticket sales. The Forza cancellation was probably pressure from prominent major donors on the Board (just my guess).

      • Camille

        As someone who actually works in the ‘real world of opera’ as administrator, that input is appreciated.

        I can only add that when I peruse the house for a ticket in the last month I have seen it very, very, VERY empty, even on opening nights and even for hyped stars. This Puritani, a week ago when we got tickets, was very empty. Now, last night, the orchestra was almost magically filled up. Go figure.

        • Who will ever forget the passionate cry of a prominent donor (a Canadian) at a Board meeting a few years ago: “WHEN WILL I SEE THE ZEFFIRELLI TOSCA AGAIN?” Because apparently, the previous quarter century had not provided enough opportunity.

          Speaking of poor ticket sales for Puritani (even with a relatively big Met star as Damrau), I don’t know how the Met is hoping to sell Semiramide on the strength of Meade’s name. If you can’t sell Puritani with Damrau and Camarena, how are you going to sell Semiramide (even in a new production) with Meade, Camarena and DeShong?

          • grimoaldo2

            I don’t think it is a new production. It is the same Semiramide that opened in the early 90’s with June Anderson and Marilyn Horne.

            • My bad. Didn’t pay attention.

            • Joe Murray

              How about the abridged version: Hemisemidemiramide?

          • Rosina Leckermaul

            They’re selling it on Camarena’s name

            • Selling it on Camerena’s name is not a bad idea on the surface but I’m just surprised at how poorly the Puritani has sold, especially considering Damrau’s relative star power at the Met and how much Met audiences seem to have embraced Camarena in the last couple of years. Semiramide is a lesser known bel canto work than Puritani and comes in a production that is also decades old. DeShong is a fabulous Rossini mezzo but she’s not going to move tickets. And I don’t see Meade having more box office appeal than Damrau. It’s a depressing situation.

            • Rosina Leckermaul

              You’re right. I love Semiramide, but it’s very long and takes an outstanding cast. In general, I think there are going to be a lot of half empty houses next season. It’s just not very exciting or imaginative. Neither is Chicago (except for FELLOW TRAVELERS) or San Francisco. Where are the great 20th century operas (except for Puccini and Strauss)? Where is Handel? Playing it safe is not always the best way to attract audiences.

            • grimoaldo2

              ” Where is Handel?”
              I usually restrain myself from being the first to say that on any thread but heartily agree.

            • Camille

              But who the hell outside of real Rossini fans knows any of Idreno’s music? All I am really familiar with is the overture, the aria, and the Mommy/Son duet. I have heard it once only, back in the heyday of La Junie, and I must say she was magnificent! The broadcast from Munich will be a good refresher course for myself and many others, dunque.

              The local opera aficionados will remember Meade’s big breakout success as Semiramide some years ago--when was it, around 2008 through 10 or so? And her partisans will push it a bit, but unless something absolutely jawdropping occurs, and well based upon the surprising lack of sales for this vaunted Puritani, (which was done in the spring of 2014, and so, fairly recently), I’d say trying to sell it on Mr. Camarena’s name alone is what you might call a “Hard Sell”.

              On verra!

          • By the time I saw that Tosca production it was late in its life and it was quite evidently worn out: dusty old sets and no acting, just apathy.

            • Porgy Amor

              Well, even the performance on the 1985 video, when the production was new, is nothing I respect. Such direction as there was, was either very basic or quite silly. Domingo was at his best, and Sinopoli got an interesting performance from the orchestra, but it was just a big-’80s gawk show.

              When an overblown camp trivialization is held up as a “legendary production,” one people are still talking about missing ten years after it was last presented (with Gruber [edit: not Crider], Fraccaro, and Morris), things do seem bleak.

            • Armerjacquino

              I didn’t realise those 2006 performances were the last for the Zeffirelli production. One of them, with Millo, was my first trip to the Met.

            • Porgy Amor

              Yes. They rested the opera for two seasons after that, and then the Bondy arrived to begin 2009-10. Obviously, if it was an attempt at “weaning,” it did not work.

            • Williams

              Not sure what year it was but I have a vivid memory of La Millo launching herself off the Zeffirelli Castel Sant’Angelo parapet, doing a 180 degree turn to face the audience with a fist held high above her head and as she fell from view using her other hand to…hold her nose!

            • La Cieca

              I would suggest that at least visually the piece was something more sinister than a mere gawk show. FZ spent a ton of money on making as visually glamorous as possible two stage pictures, the Te Deum procession and Scarpia’s office. In other words, for a piece in which monarchy, church and law enforcement authorities collude to hunt down, torture and execute those deemed enemies of a reactionary government, Zeffirelli’s visual sympathies were on the side of the oppressor.

              A very big part of the appeal of the Bondy Tosca for me is that it did directly criticize these hallowed institutions. The execution of the ideas was not always done with finesse, but at least for one at the Met Tosca was addressed as something other than a hymn to the glories of fascism.

            • Luvtennis

              Devil’s advocate -- isn’t it true that fascism appeals BECAUSE we little hairless apes are so susceptible to fake grandeur and shiny objects…. and is it any worse than when directors decide Tosca is actually attracted to the monstrous Scarpia?

            • I saw it in April 2006 and by then, according to my blog, even “The Te Deum scene, for example, could have been impressive, but was simply perfunctory.”

            • Williams

              With respect LaCieca but your comment seems a bit of a reach. I think Zefferelli was simply trying to produce a historically accurate and appealing stage picture. Malevolent institutions can be portrayed as such without necessarily changing or misrepresenting their trappings (not that there’s anything wrong with that). The noisy protests that greeted Klinghoffer’s picturesque and sonorous Palestinians do come to mind.

            • PCally

              Except that every production invariably reflects the time period it was created. La cieca has written about this and I completely agree with him, the Zeffirelli Tosca, no matter how “period” it is, is very clearly a product of the 1980s.

            • Porgy Amor

              When I watched the Rusalkas recently, I could already see Carsen’s very great production for Paris looking like “turn of the millennium” work.

  • Ivy Lin

    The HD picks are disappointing. Besides the 5 new productions, we’re getting Elisir again (really? with the same Nemorino?), Die Zauberflote, and La Boheme. Semiramide and Luisa Miller will be interesting I guess.

  • Haroun

    Maybe all the financing went to cast the Adès? It’s… a small village. 0_0

  • Alex Baker

    Oksana Dyka as Turandot does not sound like a good idea at all after last year’s Jenufail.

    • John L

      I’m kind of intrigued (though I would have been more interested if it were Liudmyla Monastryska). Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a pretty voice. But she is a screamer and might be a good fit for the role.

      • Camille

        That she most certainly IS and it would seem to be a sure thing. She reminds so much at times of Ghena Dimitrova, only less sure as a vocalist.

        Still in all, I’d much rather hear the Pankratova do the part as she is something ELSE. And I do feel Anna Netrebko will be interesting and successful in the role and give it a little bit of fire, besides the ice.

        • John L

          Yes I heard Pankratova in the Parsifal recording Marianne uploaded and she is something ELSE indeed.

          If I go to see Turandot, I’m debating between Dyka and Serafin. I don’t know much about Serafin but in the few clips I’ve seen on her, I was impressed by her Italian diction.

          • Bill

            Serafin certainly has the more attractive voice if one compares her with Dyka

            • PCally

              I guess that’s true but Serafin’s upper register (based on her met appearances and a Lisa I saw in Vienna) is a real problem. I prefer her to Dyka for sure but Turandot is an exceptionally top heavy role.

            • Bill

              PCally -- mostly I have seen Serafin as the Marschallin which of course has only one B flat. She has been around starting largely
              in operetta in 1994, her parents beng legendary operetta stars. She did sing Turandot already in Italy and Spain so I guess feels comfortable enough in the role to do it next season at the Metropolitan and in San Francsco as well. I note in 2018 she is scheduled for her first Isolde in Paris and she has sung other Wagner from time to time though it seems Tosca is her main calling card everywhere in Europe. Of course Turandot lies higher than most of her repertory and stays up there for longer periods of time. The two times I saw Dyka (Jenufa and before that in Prince Igor), I found her voice truly squally though she had no problem with the notes themselves.
              Serafin, who is an attractive woman, these days seems to get engagements in all the more important opera houses, La Scala, Covent Garden,the Met, Vienna, Paris, Dresden etc.

            • John L

              Serafin does have a beautiful regal voice paired with really clear Italian diction. But I listened to a In Questa Reggia clip from 2009 and it was good but it was also a bit troublesome high up. So I was just wondering how she’s been sounding lately after singing all these dramatic Italian roles.

            • PCally

              Her Sieglinde here was well received (she got the biggest ovations both times I went) but I thought it was a total mess vocally, the sound totally going out of control every singly time she went above the staff.

  • Leontiny

    Disappointing. The absent and lamented Forza would seem an ideal Bieito vehicle, and the voices to do it justice are available. Opening with LaRad as Norma is a risk as her recent performance in Toronto was sub par. Perhaps it was an off night, and the production including a sacrificial tools altar wheeled on like a tea trolley was nothing to enhance a story, but the first verse of Casta Diva was flat, the coloratura especially the chest trills was elided, she went for wall rattling volume at the expense of expressive dynamic range, her denunciation of Pollione (Russell Thomas in gorgeous voice and the only one of the 3 involved in the drama) was about as involving as a mother sending a naughty child to bed without dessert, and her gestures were stock, predictable, and titter-inducing. And I happen to love her. Hopefully they won’t send her out as a Disney float like her Devereux entrance. The HD schedule is even more disappointing.
    The Parsifal cast is exciting, Netrebko in Tosca (I could stand another Manon or Macbeth from her), the Ades, a production of Cosi that I hope works, Cendrillon that I’ve adored since von Stade and Welting in Ottawa, and not much else, alas.

    • grimoaldo2

      Yes, the more I think of it the worse it seems to me in such an otherwise anodyne season that they cancelled the Forza, a big success at ENO and a triumph for Tamara WIlson. Presumably they cancelled it for financial reasons but it was widely reported that this production, seen at ENO in 2015 is by “Calixto Bieito, directing his first staging of La forza del destino (a co-production with the Canadian Opera Company Toronto and the Met in New York)”
      just one example.
      So if it is a co-production, haven’t they paid for part of it already? Does it really make financial sense to pay for something and then not use it? They have not said they will put it on in another season, so maybe they are just going to throw the money they invested in the production away. I think there must also be an element of timidity about presenting such an unorthodox staging and how their core supporters would react. Maybe a board rebellion? Especially since the Met’s website touts the new “Tosca” as a return to Zefferelli type production values.
      Whatever the production was, I was looking forward to Radvan’s Leonora, very disappointed that it will not happen.

      • Camille

        “So if it is a co-production, haven’t they paid for part of it already?”

        Indeed. How does that in fact work? Anyone know?

        • Armerjacquino

          I would guess that what they’ve already paid + the cost of the Requiem performances is still significantly less than the cost that would have been incurred by a full run of FORZA.

  • southerndoc1

    Perez/Finley/Borras is a very good cast for Thais -- that could turn out to be a surprise success.

    • Cameron Kelsall

      Borras has saved the day on more than a few occasions since his debut spelling Kaufmann…nice to see him rewarded with a full run of something. I was hoping for Yoncheva or Rebeka as Thais, but Perez could be intriguing.

      • Camille

        You may get your wish. When are they singing their respective roles and will they “happen” to be around because they are rehearsing or just have finished a run?

        FLU happens! And so does Bronchitis! And myriad other concerns as well.

        • Cameron Kelsall

          Unless I’m reading the schedule wrong, Rebeka is only engaged for two Normas next season. Given the stir she caused when she replaced Yoncheva on very short notice in Salzburg (learning the role from scratch in less than a week), I thought she’d be a shoo-in. Granted, the voice isn’t exactly Met-size, but she’s had success here.

          Yoncheva already has a ton on her plate so I highly doubt we’ll see her jumping into anything else.

          • Camille

            As a matter of curiosity, I went on over to look up some of those dates and I came up with this:

            Thaïs will be November 11 -- December 12
            (all scheduled with Pérez)

            Norma with Miss Rebeka will be two dates only: October 16 and 20th.

            Luisa Miller (a Met quote: “a heart-wrenching tragedy of fatherly love”) Huh??? will be March 29 -- April 21.
            (all scheduled with Ms. Yoncheva)

            La Bohème with Yoncheva will be given February 16, 21, 24, March 2, 7, and 10th.

            Roméo et Juliette will be April 23 -- May 12
            (all scheduled with Ms. Pérez)

            I tried to find as many dates involving Mesdames Pérez, Rebeka, and Yoncheva as I could but perhaps missed something so please feel free, parterriani, to add on, and you can all do the math and congruent configurations.

            So, who knows? Maybe one will switch out for another. Myself, I was surprised that it was Pérez tapped for Thaïs because of the respective successes of the other two, but Quién sabe, Kimosabi? Mebbe we’ll get all three as Thaïs, the terrible temptress of the ‘Banana Duet’ (as Bubbles used to call it).

            One thing for dead sure, there will be no Sybil Sanderson dropping her veil in first act’s end!

  • Parpignol

    Parsifal and Elektra for sure!
    Ades and Centrillon, when else will we see these?
    Luisa Miller with a nice cast! glad to see Semiramide again--
    Netrebko’s Tosca, yes!

    but what else?
    Cavaradossi is a fine role for Kaufmann but paired with Opolais?
    (he was actually terrific with Racette quite a number of years back)
    maybe the Bicket Figaro with Yoncheva’s contessa?
    new production of Cosi fan tutte sounds like fun, but seems undercast; interesting that Levine is not conducting either the Figaro or the Cosi--
    the announcement of a new season should be more alluring than this--

  • Armerjacquino

    Easy to miss in what looks like a routine revival, but Rachvelishvili’s Azucena is one of the greatest portrayals I’ve seen in thirty years of operagoing.

    • I’d love to see more of her.

    • Cameron Kelsall

      I actually think the Trov revival is probably the most strongly cast opera, across the board. Agresta, Rachvelishvili, Lee, Kelsey--I’ll be there.

      • Armerjacquino

        With the exception of Lee, that’s the cast I saw at the ROH a couple of months ago. Agresta was fine, nothing special but never less than good (side note: is Leonora the definitive opera heroine? Her reaction to any dilemma is to say ‘Would it maybe help if I died?’)

        Di Luna isn’t really Kelsey’s part- he’s better at the heavier, ragier stuff than the more delicate stuff, and his ‘Il balen’ could best be described with the word ‘careful’. But it’s a voice that’s always worth hearing.

        Rachvelishvili, though- for the ages. It’s a portrayal everyone who has the chance to should see and hear.

        • Camille

          Thanks a lot Jacquino. I will bear that in mind. Miss Agresta sounded like a Leonora the other day when singing her Micaëla so I’ll be happy to hear her there rather than as a jeune fille.

          I am a leetle bit confusa regarding what it is she is best cast in, as she sings everything in the telephone directory. Thus far I’ve only seen that Nedda from Salzbourg and it didn’t work for me.

          Also, hoping Lee is not over singing and barking the way he was last time in Don Carlo, but he was really quite ill at the time, so……

          Anita the Rach would perhaps also make a fine Prinicipessa di Bouillon but I’d prefer Garanca in that role, NOT that I ever get my ‘druthers, me poverina!

        • Di Luna isn’t really Kelsey’s part- he’s better at the heavier, ragier stuff than the more delicate stuff, and his ‘Il balen’ could best be described with the word ‘careful’.

          Interesting. His Germont here last year was all nuanced phrasing and musicality. Maybe he wasn’t feeling 100% when you saw him. Di Luna is heavier than Germont and has a few opportunities for big outbursts.

          The casting of A-Rach as Azucena did catch my eye. Glad to hear that she made such an impression in London.

  • Madoperfan

    Not exciting, agreed La Cieca!
    Horse trading… YNS wants to play with the BSO and he’s sanctioned Mrs. Boston Symphony to get Met gigs to please Mr. BS….. Yoncheva is fav of YNS ….. The McVicar Tosca (yawn) was inevitable as is the Benini re-appointment -- both are good serviceable workhorse traffic cops.
    Thank GOD no more speed dialling to Mary Zzzzzzzzimerman.
    Understandable that YNS would choose his two as the rest is dross for him at this point in his career and post with The Met…. it will be interesting to see YNS’s influence waxing as PG’s is waning.
    Oh for some decent funding applied to some intelligent productions and casting!
    Roll on YNS’s fuller input!

  • Paul Johnston

    Will Ms. O’Hara be miked? Obviously Gelb thinks she will sell tickets. Is it time for Fleming to audition for Bette Midler’s understudy?

    • Camille

      That reminds me — whatever happened to the noise regarding the début of that little fire engine, Kristin Chenoweth at the MET in what: Candide, wasn’t it? Oh, that’s right, we are not celebrating Lenny’s 100th, are we?

      • Cameron Kelsall

        Chenoweth was engaged for Samira in a planned revival of Ghosts of Versailles that was scrapped due to costs.

        O’Hara won’t be miked, of course, but I’m sure we’ll be hearing conspiracy theories about it for years to come (in between screeds about Betsy Wolfe). Say what you will about it being a stunt, but she did train as an opera singer and she projected just fine in Widow. I personally find her voice bland, but her abilities are real.

        • Camille

          oh thank you for the info. Still wish she would show up in Candide.

          As a matter of fact, in an interview sometime at an interval, Ms. O’Hara did state, in a rather matter-of-fact manner that “the degree does say OPERA”, referring to her actual degree in music, from whatever institution and at what level I would not know. She was politely but firmly putting it out there that she wasn’t just an interlopin’ Broadway Baby.

          Her Julie Jordan in Carousel I found to be very fine perhaps the best one I’ve encountered and even Richard Rodgers himself stated that in this work they came the closest to creating an “opera”. You can find his exact quote easily as it’s out thar!

          In any event, Ms. O’Hara is really talented and lovely, no matter which genre she chooses.

          • Cameron Kelsall

            Both O’Hara and Chenoweth are graduates of Oklahoma City University and share the same voice teacher (Florence Birdwell), whom they constantly credit for their vocal success. They’re also both sisters of Gamma Phi Beta, but that’s another story.

            Leona Mitchell, Sarah Coburn, Ron Raines, and I’m sure others I’m forgetting came out of the same program at OCU.

            I think Chenoweth is a couple years past her Cunegonde sell-by date at this point, personally. And call me ageist, but I don’t particularly want to see a fifty-year-old in that role.

            • Camille

              That’s Really interesting!!

              What gives with Oklahoma? Dame Eva Turner taught there for some time — probably she needed the steady job -- I don’t know her circustances — and I believe Roberta Knie studied with her there, among others? Yes, Leona Mitchell was from Enid, wherever that may be! What a beautiful voice she has!!

              I had no idea Ms. Chenoweth was that old and you are probably correct about the sell-by date but, you know, make-up, latex, and stage perspective can do a lot for an aging broad!

              Whatever Ms. Birdwell teaches, she does it WELL!

            • Cameron Kelsall

              Chenoweth and O’Hara are both Oklahoma natives, but as we know, sometimes the best theater/voice/music programs are not necessarily located in the most cosmopolitan locales.

              Chenoweth certainly could have been an opera singer if she so desired. She was given a scholarship to AVA and auditions for the Met National Councils. That said, she perhaps correctly judged that her style and personality would take her farther in musical theater. But from what I can tell her voice has held up remarkably well--at least as of the last time I heard her, in On the 20th Century two years ago.

            • Camille

              Why thank you again for the further information and a big yes to the fact young people need to look around for what’s best and that may not necessarily be the Big Apple, to whom they flock like moths to a flame……..

              Ms. Chenoweth judged correctly and that is all to her credit. Also, quite frankly, the route she has chosen is probably more lucrative, what with the occasional movie and TV series. A delightful presence.

            • RudigerVT

              Kelli and Christi went to Oklahoma City University (as did I). Eva Turner taught at the University of Oklahoma. Other OCU opera alumnae include Chris Merritt, Stephen Dickson (RIP, swoon), Gwendolen Jones, Sarah Coburn, plus plenty who have enjoyed regional careers (ie, Marquita Lister, who used to be a lot of fun). Kay Creed was a house mezzo at City Opera, a stunning woman--a Miss Oklahoma--who returned to teach and have a family with her husband, Carveth, who was mostly a dancer (their daughter Meghan works steadily on Broadway). Also, 3 Miss Americas. A bunch of Rockettes. All from a college of about 1200 students.

              The music-theater program at OU now, IMHO, rivals OCU, largely because of my buddy Shawn Churchman. The smaller University of Central Oklahoma, a bit to the north, also does a good job (friends teach there).

              It was a pretty amazing place to grow up and to train. In addition to voice and acting, the dance training was fantastic. Jo Rowan is possibly the greatest educator I’ve ever known and led marvelous ballet classes, but the tap and jazz/theater classes were also excellent. We mounted a double-cast “No, No, Nannette” with 4 choreographers. I sort of faked my way through it (I’d just started tap class and I’m clumsy), but my number, “I want to be happy” was a stunning piece of work, with remarkable acoustic finesse.

            • Camille

              Wow, thanks, for the education, Rudiger.

              My sole exposure to Oklahoma was stopping for gas at a dusty station and looking around, wondering where in tarnation I was. It was nowhere near Oklahoma City, neither. I think it was in the panhandle and was in and out in less than an hour.

              I suppose you guys have just GOT to perform R&H Oklahoma every other year as sacred ritual, sort of like Bayreuth, or maybe everyone is worn out with it by now?

              Whatevs. Y’all should be proud of yo’selves.

            • jackoh

              And given that part of the country, let’s not forget Lubbock, Texas and Texas Tech U that gave us Bruce Ford and Susan Graham

            • RudigerVT

              Jack, yes, the OK/TX Met auditions are famously competitive, as there are excellent programs at Rice, North Texas State in Denton, and SMU, among others south of the Red River.

            • Cameron Kelsall

              I believe Pat Racette came out of UNT, yes?

            • RudigerVT

              I think so. And Richard Croft is a professor of voice there. The people I knew who went there were exceptionally well trained.

            • C David Morrow

              And Marcus Haddock.

            • RudigerVT

              lol in fact, as it’s our state song, when it comes up in the show, people stand. It’s like the Hallelujah chorus in Messiah. For the early ’80’s tour of the Broadway revival, the cast had to be warned.

            • Luvtennis

              Ming Na Wen is 53 and she kicks ass and looks great doing it….

              Venus Williams will be 37 in June and suffers from a debilitating auto-immune disease. She just made the finals of the Australian Open where she lost to her 36 year old sister.

              Things ain’t what they used to be….

            • Camille

              Luvtennis--are you on a tennis forum here?

              We don’t do Venus and Serena here, even if they are the Leontyne’s of tennis.


            • Luvtennis

              I assure you I was only using them as a point of reference. I did not want to refer to past singers for fear of being accused of necrophilia or at least terminal nostalgia! Lol!

            • John L

              The intersection of opera and tennis is a rather unusual one (both rather specific niches). Though that intersection has happened with me (and I believe YNS is a big Rafa fan). Like my semi annual trips to NY for the Met, I also try to make a trip to the USOpen. Last two years Serena didn’t make the final, should I try again this year? ????

            • Williams

              There was a time when the courtside seats at the Open and the top locations at the Met were populated by many of the same society crowd. They do still go to the tennis.

            • John L

              Opera and tennis are both beautiful in their own way!

        • LaPetiteUmlaut

          A bit late on my reply, but while I agree her abilities are legit (especially in comparison to most Broadway talent save for McDonald or Cheno), but I too have always been perplexed at her success--to my ear, the voice is bland and the acting blander.

          Say what you want about the increasing shrill factor in Chenoweth’s voice, her Cunnegonde in 2004 (or so) was an entertaining balance of comedic and vocal chops. Her extension seems more than spent these days (b flats sound a third higher in her voice these days) but it has indeed held up well considering the wide variety of music she sings.

          For what it’s worth, I don’t think Kelli’s a natural coloratura. Find below a recording of her Glitter. It’s perfectly fine--but most undergraduates sing it better (the acting is a moot point given it’s hard to get a sense of her interpretation here). Most notes about an A-flat are straight toned and from what I saw in the Dido, she seems uncomfortable with fioratura etc overall.

          So I’m glad she’s not singing anything more demanding. Despina’s, operatically, a walk in the park and while I have doubts she’ll be revelatory in the role, she’ll be perfectly fine and certainly move tickets. So a win for the Met box office if not for aficionados.

          On the whole, I’m for expanding the audience even when it feels like pandering at times; which this somewhat does--only because there area myriad of young soubrettes out there who frankly could indeed act it just as well and who have over prepared for this. I know she studied opera, but it’s not just sustaining a decent head voice to be heard in the family circle--it’s the language, the style, the nuances in color etc. Perhaps she’ll shock us all, but it’s just further proof that the system for discovering and nurturing new talent is quite broken. The acting argument, were it Cheno in the role, would hold slightly more sway as she’s, on the whole, a more natural commedienne and compelling personality.

  • Camille

    Is anyone willing to wager which performance will open the Texaco, uh, Toll Bros. Broadcast season. It would be likely either Saturday December 2nd (Levine/Verdi Requiem) or Saturday December 9th (de Waart/Die Zauberflöte?

    Guessing it will be the former rather than the later but then I just don’t know, as I’m not Milton Host.

    • Lohenfal

      We can’t be sure at this point, but I would think the Requiem will be the first broadcast. Levine conducting Verdi would be more of an attraction than Zauberflöte. And they need attractions, since the layout of this coming season is particularly dull, despite some highlights here and there.

      • Camille

        Right. Very interesting that the Emeritus seems to be still very much in sight. Is Maestro Nézet only present for the Parsifal this season? hmmmm.

        • Cameron Kelsall

          Elektra, too.

          YNS stated in the current issue of Opera News (on the cover) that he will conduct two operas per season during his period as “music director designate,” then five operas per season once he is the full-time MD. He’ll be spending a lot of time behind the scene during the next few years learning how the sausage is made, rather than in the pit. Being music director is an administrative position and well as an artistic one, and that requires a training of its own kind, especially in an organization as large and intricate as the Met.

          • Camille

            Oh thanks for the advisement as I have wondered. The Hollânder, which is strongly cast has been one of the few things I’ve looked forward to seeing and feel it a fairly good jumping offnpoint for him with Wagner. A VERY talented and engaging young(ish) fellow but, even so, I have hoped he puts his toe into the bath water very gradually, as it is just an impossible job — exactly because there is so much to be learned about sausage making and the requisite diplomacy it requires is staggering to contemplate!!

            I would hate for the sausage machine to spoil his gentlemanly and sweet demeanor. Didn’t I also read he was a champ at fundraising or was that someone else?

            Another I hope to hear more of would be Nelsons, as his Alexander Nevsky was a real eye and ear opener.

            Thank you for all your kind and accurate informations.

        • Lohenfal

          Since the Met website didn’t crash on me today, as it did yesterday, I was able to plow through their entire press release. It mentions that the Requiem will be the first broadcast on Dec. 2.

          BTW, the Dec. 9 performance is of the shortened, English-language version of Zauberflöte, thus called The Magic Flute in Met-speak. Hence the different conductor, since Levine is going to do the Ur-Zauberflöte earlier in the season.

          • Camille

            Thank you for that confirmation and I figured as much.

            It’s just a little bit eerie to be starting out a season with the Emeritus and a Requiem is all, and not at all festive nor celebratory. Maybe it is all a bit of a grand flourish of the real farewell to JL?

            It’s quite unusual how this is all going down and being played out. It still feels murky to me.

            Yes, I plan on finally attending the new English version, as it is plenty long enough for me anyway! I am keenly interested to hear this QotN, whom I keep on missing.

            • Lohenfal

              I saw Lewek in the Ur-Zauberflöte in Nov. 2014 and thought she was quite accomplished. So were Werba and Kehrer, who are returning this season in one of the 2 versions. Most of the comments I read at that time were negative about that year’s revival, but IMO the performance I saw was OK, if not great. Maybe it’s because I’ve never seen a performance of this piece which was outstanding in every way, or maybe it’s because my expectations in general are more moderate than they used to be.

  • John Ioannidis

    I was seriously disappointed not to see Yonghoon Lee in more productions. At least we get to see him as Manrico again. I would have loved to see him as Cavaradossi.