2014 was a year of lemons into lemonade.
1. Best example of the lemonading process: the massive Boheme and Traviata cancellations resulted in exciting role debuts (Michael Fabiano! Quinn Kelsey! Sonya Yoncheva!) and gave these umpteenth revivals much needed buzz and excitement.
2. Best example of turning lemonade into lemons: The cancellation of both the HD and Sirius of Death of Klinghoffer. We wish Peter Gelb had acted, well, less Sony and more Google/YouTube in this “Interview” like situation. Death of Klinghoffer was one of the Met’s best productions.
3. Best Global Relations Trendlet: NYC continues to be a great place for Russian opera and ballet despite deteriorating US-RUSSKI relations. Tours of the Bolshoi Opera and Ballet, Mikhailovsky Ballet, Met productions of Prince Igor and Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk were all commercial and artistic successes. And the good news: more to come in 2015 with a NP of Iolanta and a visit by the Mariinsky at BAM.
4. Let’s hear it for the vets: Mariella Devia at age 66 made a triumphant return to NYC in the OONY Roberto Devereux that had opera queens in screaming, screeching heaven.
5. Let’s hear it for the high notes: the pint-sized tenors Javier Camarena, Lawrence Brownlee, John Osborn, and Juan Diego Florez all hit notes into the stratosphere. Who cares if they need Tom Cruise style lifts if they can sing like that?
6. Let’s hear it for the low notes: Rene Pape, Agunda Kulaeeva, Olga Borodina, Peter Mattei, Dolora Zajick proved that you don’t need a high C to thrill the audience.
7. Let’s hear it for baritones not named Plamingo: Stephen Powell’s Rigoletto and Quinn Kelsey‘s Germont gave me hope that Verdi baritones might not be completely extinct.
8. Let’s hear it for wig-throwing tantrums: Anna Netrebko‘s Lady Macbeth proved that there really is no replacement for a diva with star power, charisma, and voice to burn.
9. Let’s hear it for suicidal angst: Jonas Kaufmann‘s Werther was accompanied by mile long lines at the stage door, squealing audience fangirls, and many men deciding to buy white scarves. Also good news: cover Jean-François Borras got to sing one performance and made such an impression that he’ll be back for Boheme in January. But once again for Jonas: Oh. My. God.
10. Let’s hear it for labor relations: after much chest-beating and grandstanding on both sides. the Met unions agreed to a new contract and the only collateral damage seems to be a lien on the Chagall murals. I can live with that.