The 2006-2007 Met season has come to an end (and I'll have one catch-all post with most of the things I failed to post) but its successor begins in four months.
As much as one might question the direction of Peter Gelb's managership on the whole, its changes may, in this transitional period when the names and habits of old continue next to the new, make for a most enjoyable 2007-2008 season. As one perceptive Opera-Ler has observed, one of Gelb's policies appears to be to ride his stars until they drop. This may prove unwise in the long run -- it is, for one thing, part of the homogenization discussed in the previous post -- but its short-run appeal is obvious. We will see Natalie Dessay star in two new productions, Renee Fleming in two Verdi revivals, and so on. Even La Boheme is cast with Angela Gheorghiu and Ramon Vargas (who also stars in a revival of Clemenza) for its entire run, and the most "why are they bothering?" production -- a new Macbeth with Andrea Gruber -- has an interesting lineup of men including a later cast of Joseph Calleja, Carlos Alvarez, and Rene Pape.
Almost all productions have, in this manner, a star or two to grab one's interest. Only, I think, the Norma has nothing to recommend it but the surely-to-be-abused music. That is, barring ill health... Dessay's cancellation from last Sunday's Met Orchestra concert (where Michelle DeYoung filled in admirably) got me to wondering what Gelb might do if she had to withdraw from one or more of the new productions. Let Anna Netrebko massacre another half-learned bel canto role, perhaps? Let's hope we don't find out.
As for myself, I'm most looking forward to Lucia (opening night is the "event", but the later combination of Dessay and Giuseppe Filianoti should be explosive) and Ernani, wouldn't miss Röschmann's Countess or Mattila's Manon Lescaut, and will probably end up seeing everything else besides Romeo (note the "conductor"), Norma, First Emperor, and Satyagraha.