Queens to rule in Met’s 2015-16 season
Tried and true, stalwarts works—that is what the Metropolitan Opera has in store for the 2015–16 season, announced today. The Met will present 25 operas, for a total of 227 performances. There will be six new productions, one of which will be a company premiere, Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux, opening March 24, 2016.
Opening September 21 will, in Peter Gelb’s new tradition, present a new production: Verdi’s Otello, created by Barlett Sher, and with Yannick Nézet-Séguin in the pit and tenor Aleksandrs Antonenko singing the lead role at the Met for the first time. Sonya Yoncheva is cast as Desdemona, and Željko Lučić is Iago. The production will return in May, 2016, with Adam Fischer conducting and Hibla Gerzmava as Desdemona.
Roberto Devereux is a companion to the far better known Donizetti operas Anna Bolena and Maria Stuarda—all of which will be in production, presenting the entire Donizetti Tudor trilogy. The story is about Queen Elizabeth I later in life, when she must sign the death warrant for Devereux, whom she loves. Soprano Sondra Radvonovsky will sing the lead roles in all three operas. Matthew Polenzani, a house favorite, stars in the title role, and Maurizio Benini conducts. The production will be by Sir David McVicar, another unifying element as he is responsible for the Met premieres of the other two operas in the trilogy.
The other four new productions for the season will be: Lulu (in the Cerha completion), created by William Kentridge, and opening November 5. James Levine will conduct—the opera is one of his favorites and he is one of the finest interpreters of Berg—and Marlis Petersen, who has created a sensation in the title role, will star, joined by Susan Graham, Daniel Brenna, Paul Groves and Franz Grundheber.
Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de Perles—the season’s New Year’s Eve Gala—presented by English director Penny Woolcock, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda, and featuring Diana Damrau, Polenzani and Mariusz Kwiecien; Manon Lescaut from Puccini, opening February 12, 2016 in a design by Sir Richard Eyre that places the story in the 1940s. The premium cast is Kristine Opolais and Jonas Kaufmann, Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi leads the music; and Patrice Chéreau makes a posthumous return to the Met after his memorable 2009 production of Janacek’s From the House of the Dead—with Strauss’ Elektra, Chéreau’s final work. Nina Stemme sings the lead, Waltraud Meier sings Klytämnestra at the Met for the first time, and Adrianne Pieczonka, Eric Owens and Burkhard Ulrich are also featured. Vincent Huguet will stage the production, and Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts.
In addition to Anna Bolena—opening September 26—and Maria Stuarda—opening January 29, 2016—repertory productions will include Sher’s The Barber of Seville December 16, with Elliot Madore as Figaro (later replaced with David Pershall), and Anthony Walker conducting; the November 23 opening of Zeffirelli’s La Bohème, with rotating cast and conductors; Don Pasquale, in Otto Schenk’s production (March 4), with Ambrogio Maestri in the lead and Maurizio Benini conducting; the revival of this year’s Met premiere of Rossini’s La Donna Del Lago (December 11), with Joyce DiDonato returning as Elena and Michele Mariotti conducting; the revival of this season’s opening production of Le Nozze di Figaro (February 25, 2016), with Luisi conducting and Mikhail Petrenko, Anita Hertig, Rachel Willis-Sørensen, Isabel Leonard and Luca Pisaroni singing; and Die Entführung aus dem Serail (April 22), with Levine in the pit and Paul Appleby, Albina Shagimuratova and Kathleen Kim singing.
Anthony Minghella’s controversial production of Madama Butterfly will open February 19, 2016, with Patricia Racette (then Opolais) as Cio-Cio-San and Massimo Giordano (followed by Roberto Alagna and Roberto De Biaiso) as Pinkerton, with Karel Mark Chichon making his Met debut in the pit; Michael Mayer’s Las Vegas Rat Pack Rigoletto returns October 20, with Pablo Heras-Casado conducting and Simon Keenlyside in the title role, singing off against Stephen Costello’s Duke over Olga Peretyatko.
There will be more Verdi with Levine conducting Simon Boccanegra from April 1, 2016, with Plácido Domingo in the lead, and Il Trovatore, September 25, with Anna Netrebko as Leonora and Marco Armiliato conducting (the production is by McVicar). Tosca—in Luc Bondy’s notorious production—and Turandot (October 16 and September 23, respectively), round out what is a substantial Puccini survey for 2015–16; each opera features a rotating cast. Wagner is represented by the Schenk production of Tannhäuser; Levine conducts and Johan Botha, Eva-Maria Westbroek and Michelle DeYoung star, with Peter Mattei as Wolfram.
Subscription tickets are on sale for the Met’s 2015–16 season metopera.org