Met to present Adams’ “Klinghoffer”; Levine slated for six productions in 2014-15 season
The Metropolitan Opera unveiled its 2014-15 lineup on Wednesday, which offer an eclectic mix of house favorites and less familiar gems. In addition to new productions of several Italianate classics, the Met will present three company premieres—including John Adams’ The Death of Klinghoffer—and two comparatively rare twentieth-century pieces.
The biggest news of the next Met season is that James Levine will conduct thirty-six performances of six different operas, twice as many productions as in his comeback 2013-14 season, and eleven more performances in total. The first will be a new production of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro on opening night, September 22, directed by Richard Eyre (whose Werther opens next Tuesday). The opening cast stars Ildar Abdrazakov in the title role, with Marlis Petersen as Susanna and Peter Mattei as Count Almaviva. Isabel Leonard will sing the love-struck page Cherubino, and Marina Poplavskaya will make her role debut as the Countess. Edo de Waart will lead a second cast starring Erwin Schrott as Figaro, Danielle de Niese as Susanna, and Mariusz Kwiecen as Count Almaviva, with two company debuts: Amanda Majeski as the Countess and Serena Malfi as Cherubino.
The other new productions will include three Met premieres, beginning October 20 with John Adams’s 1991 opera The Death of Klinghoffer, based on the story of a 1985 cruise ship hijacking and murder of a Jewish American tourist. A co-production with the English National Opera, it will be directed by Tom Morris, who won a Tony for his direction of War Horse. David Robertson will conduct, leading a cast that stars Paulo Szot as captain of the Achille Lauro and Alan Opie as Klinghoffer.
Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta will be performed for the first time at the Met on January 26, with Valery Gergiev conducting and Anna Netrebko in the title role. She will be joined by Piotr Beczala as Vaudémont and Alexey Markov as Robert. Iolanta will be presented in tandem with Bartók’s Duke Bluebeard’s Castle, starring Nadja Michael as Judith and Mikhail Petrenko as the Duke. The two operas will be directed by Mariusz Trelińsky, in a co-production with the Teatr Wielki-Polish National Opera.
A more familiar double-bill will receive a facelift on April 14 when David McVicar directs new productions of Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci. Marcelo Álvarez will sing the tenor lead in both operas, making major role debuts as Turiddu and Canio. He will be joined in the first by Eva-Maria Westbroek as Santuzza and Željko Lučić as Alfio, and in the second by Patricia Racette as Nedda and George Gagnidze as Tonio. Fabio Luisi will conduct.
The third Met premiere in 2014-15 will be La Donna del Lago, a co-production with the Santa Fe Opera, which premiered the staging in 2013. Rossini’s setting of Sir Walter Scott’s poem The Lady of the Lake will be directed by another Scotsman, the acclaimed Paul Curran in his Met debut. Joyce DiDonato leads the cast opposite Juan Diego Flórez’s Giacomo, with Daniela Barcellona as Malcolm, John Osborn as Rodrigo, and Oren Gradus as Douglas. Michele Mariotti conducts.
Renée Fleming adds a twenty-second role to her Met repertoire, taking on the title character of Hanna Glawari in Lehár’s The Merry Widow. The new production, to premiere on New Year’s Eve, will be directed by Tony winner Susan Stroman, with Andrew Davis leading a cast that includes Nathan Gunn as Danilo, Alek Shrader as Camille, Thomas Allen as Baron Zeta, and Kelli O’Hara in her Met debut as Valencienne. In April, Fabio Luisi will lead a second cast starring Susan Graham in the title role, with Rod Gilfry as Danilo, Stephen Costello as Camille, Alan Opie as Baron Zeta, and Danielle de Niese as Valencienne.
Plácido Domingo will continue his remarkable second career as a baritone, adding the role of Don Carlo in Verdi’s Ernani to his ever-expanding repertoire. James Levine will conduct a cast that also includes Francesco Meli in the title role, Angela Meade as Elvira, and Dmitri Belosselskiy as de Silva.
In addition to Le Nozze di Figaro and Ernani, Levine will lead performances of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress with Paul Appleby and Stephani Blythe; Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera with Sondra Radvanovsky as Amelia, Piotr Beczala as Gustavo, Dolora Zajick as Ulrica, Dmitri Hvorostovsky as Anckarström, and Heidi Stober as Oscar; Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg with Johan Reuter as Hans Sachs, Johan Botha as Walther, and Annette Dasch as Eva; and Offenbach’s Les Contes D’Hoffmann starring Matthew Polenzani, with Audrey Luna as Olympia, Susanna Phillips as Antonia, and Elena Maximova as Giulietta.
There will be two ladies Macbeth this season: Anna Netrebko’s first performances of the season will come as the ruthless noblewoman in Verdi’s Macbeth, with Željko Lučić in the title role, René Pape as Banquo, and Fabio Luisi conducting. Later in the season, James Conlon will conduct as Eva-Maria Westbroek sings the title role in Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, the opera that first landed Shostakovich in hot water with Stalin’s regime.
It will be a busy season for René Pape—in addition to his performances as Banquo in Macbeth, he will sing the role of Sarastro in a full-length German-lanuguage revival of Die Zauberflöte in Julie Taymor’s colorful production. He will also present this year’s Met solo recital, singing works by Dvořák, Beethoven, Ravel, and Mussorgsky.
Widespread rumors of a Don Carlos in the original French have proven only half-true. Verdi’s Don Carlo will be presented in Italian, beginning March 30. Yannick Nézet-Séguin will conduct Nicholas Hynter’s acclaimed production, as he did when it opened in 2010. Yonghoon Lee will lead the cast, joined by Barbara Frittoli as Elisabetta, Ekaterina Gubanova as Eboli, and Simon Keenlyside as Posa. The performances will feature a throw-down for the ages between James Morris as the Grand Inquisitor and Ferruccio Furlanetto as King Phillip, one of his signature roles.
Carmen will get plenty of reps this year, with sixteen performances split between two casts. Pablo Heras-Casado will lead a lineup that includes Anita Rachvelishvili in the title role, with Aleksandrs Antonenko and Anita Hartig in their company debuts as Don José and Micaëla, and Massimo Cavalletti and Ildar Abdrazakov splitting duties as Escamillo. The second cast, led by Louis Langrée, will see Elīna Garanča and Roberto Alagna reunited as Carmen and Don José, with Ailyn Pérez and Gábor Bretz making their debuts as Micaëla and Escamillo. And, just to make sure the party’s really complete, Jonas Kaufmann will drop in for a pair of performances as the spurned lover.
Other repertory productions include the inexhaustible Zeffirelli Bohème, with three casts starring Angela Gheorghiu, Kristine Opolais, and Ekaterina Scherbachenko; a holiday presentation of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel with Christine Schäfer; Peter Mattei in the title role of Don Giovanni with Alan Gilbert conducting and James Morris as the Commendatore; Diana Damrau in the title role of Massenet’s Manon, opposite Vittorio Grigolo as des Grieux; Albina Shagimuratova making her company role debut in the title role of Lucia di Lammermoor; Marina Rebeka and Stephen Costello making company role debuts as Violetta and Giorgio Germont in La Traviata; multiple casts of Aida starring Liudmyla Monastryska, Latonia Moore, and Oksana Dyka in the title role, and Marcello Giordani and Marco Berti as Radamès; and Christopher Maltman’s company role debut as Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia opposite Isabel Leonard as Rosina.
2014-15 will feature ten “Live in HD” transmissions, including all six of the new productions. Macbeth, Carmen, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and Les Contes d’Hoffman, will also be presented.