Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The 2010-2011 season (again)

So with less than a week before Opening Night, let's see what's changed on the schedule since February, shall we? Cast alterations since the original season announcement are underlined. Commentary has been updated where necessary.

Das Rheingold (new Robert Lepage production)
Terfel, Owens, Siegel, Croft, Selig, König, Blythe, Harmer / Levine (opening night through October; March-April)
The Met's first new Ring in decades -- a big event even if Lepage's tech tricks prove to be as soporific as they were in Damnation. Every show is sold out except opening night.

Tales of Hoffmann
Filianoti, Lindsey, Abdrazakov, Christy, Gerzmava, Shkosa / Fournillier (September-beginning of October)
Filianoti, Lindsey, Abdrazakov, Mosuc, Gerzmava, Shkosa / Fournillier (October)
Mr. Borodina (Abdrazakov) still -- happily -- stars as the villains, but the lady herself is out as Giulietta. Albanian mezzo Enkelejda Shkosa makes her house debut in Borodina's place. The show's success will mostly depend on Filianoti's vocal state: when I last saw him here last year, he sounded not yet recovered from his illness-prompted vocal issues of the year before. Let's hope the big engagement is a sign there was no permanent damage. Patrick Fournillier debuts in the pit.

Ataneli, Schäfer, Meli, Silvestrelli, Surguladze / Arrivabeni (September-beginning of October)
Gagnidze, Schäfer, Meli, Silvestrelli, Surguladze / Arrivabeni (October)
Meoni, Machaidze, Calleja, Kocán, Chávez / Arrivabeni (January)
Lucic, Damrau, Filianoti, Kocán, Herrera / Luisi (April-May)
The addition of last season's baritone revelation Giovanni Meoni (replacing, as he did for his debut, Carlos Alvarez) makes the January cast now a must-see. Young Italian tenor Francesco Meli (who sang this last year at Covent Garden) makes his house debut before more familiar Dukes take over. Also debuting: soprano Nino Machaidze and conductor Paolo Arrivabeni.

Boris Godunov (new Peter Stein production)
Pape, Antonenko, Semenchuk, Nikitin, Balashov, Petrenko, Ognovenko / Gergiev (October, March)
(Rene Pape is now listed for all performances.) Pape, a bunch of Russians, and an impressive-voiced Latvian (Antonenko as the False Dmitri) try Mussorgsky. Note that Pavel Smelkov is conducting one performance each in October and March.

La Boheme
Kovalevska, Grigolo, Kizart, Capitanucci / Rizzi Brignoli (October-November)
Stoyanova, Calleja, Dehn, Capitanucci / Rizzi Brignoli (December)
Kovalevska, Beczala, Phillips, Mattei / Rizzi Brignoli (January-February)
Kovalevska, Vargas, Phillips, Mattei / Rizzi Brignoli (February)
Latvian soprano Kristine Opolais, originally in three of the four casts, is out, replaced by two Americans: Takesha Meshé Kizart (debuting) in the fall and Susanna Phillips (Musetta in the 2008 revival) in January and February. Four remarkable casts, though unfortunately Kovalevska (peerless today as Mimi) and Calleja don't sing together. Having Peter Mattei as Marcello for the third and fourth iterations is serious luxury.

Il Trovatore
Racette, Cornetti, Álvarez, Lucic / Armiliato (October-November)
Radvanovsky, Zajick, Álvarez, Hvorostovsky / Levine (April)
As good as Racette is, florid Verdi isn't her strength. Still a promising alternate fall lineup, though, before April's not-to-be-missed premiere cast reprise (this time with Levine!). Note that Julianna Di Giacomo (heard last season in Stiffelio) will do one Leonora on November 11.

Don Pasquale
Del Carlo, Netrebko, Polenzani, Kwiecien / Levine (October-November, February)
I loathed this production when it opened, though Del Carlo did do much to make it work in his sole performance of the run. And Netrebko's bel canto outings since then have only grown more vocally iffy.

Garanca, Jovanovich, Cabell, Relyea / Gardner (November-December)
Vizin, Jovanovich, Hong, Relyea / Gardner (December 9)
Aldrich, Alagna, Kühmeier, Szot / Gardner (January)
Hong in for a pair of Micaelas (one on December 4th with Garanca as well), and the TBA Escamillo turned out to be Paulo Szot (last seen without his Nose). Otherwise it's a reshuffling of last season's Joses and Carmens, though the conductor and Micaelas aren't as exciting. It will be interesting to see how Garanca and Alagna fare in this without Nézet-Séguin.

Cosi fan tutte
Persson, Leonard, Breslik, Gunn, de Niese, Holzmair / Christie (November-December)
From Sophie to Fiordiligi? Holzmair at the Met? With Christie in the pit?
So many oddities, it almost has to work.

Don Carlo (new Nicholas Hytner production)
Poplavskaya, Smirnova, Alagna, Keenlyside, Furlanetto, Halfvarson / Nézet-Séguin (November-December)
Poplavskaya, Smirnova, Lee, Keenlyside, Furlanetto, Halfvarson / Nézet-Séguin (November-December)
The Met is scrapping its finest Verdi production to bring over Hytner's cheesy Lego sets? With a great Francophone conductor and tenor and it's still in Italian? What a waste.
That said, it'll probably still be really good. (But still a waste.)

La Fanciulla del West
Voigt, Giordani, Gallo / Luisotti (December-January)
Uusitalo out, but Lucio Gallo (last seen as a mediocre Escamillo) adds no glamor to this centenary revival. Luisotti in the pit again for Puccini is a treat, but the onstage lineup isn't exactly Destinn, Caruso and Amato.

Pelléas et Mélisande
Kožená, Degout, Finley, Palmer, White / Rattle (December-January)
You'd be crazy to miss this. Probably will sell badly, though, despite Rattle and the amazing cast.

Magic Flute
Phillips, Miklósa, Thomas, Gunn, Robinson / Nielsen (December-January)
Like this season's Hansel&Gretel, this is a really good cast for a kids' version.

La Traviata (new Willy Decker production)
Poplavskaya, Polenzani, Dobber / Noseda (New Year's Eve through January)
Poplavskaya, Meli, Dobber / Noseda (January)
Decker's famous Salzburg Traviata arrives -- minus the stars (Netrebko and Villazon) who made it famous. This may be for the better.

Radvanovsky, Álvarez, Struckmann / Armiliato (January)
Urmana, Licitra, Morris / Armiliato (March-April)
Wouldn't have imagined Urmana as Tosca myself. Radvanovsky, yes. In fact, the Radvanovsky performances now look like one of the season's highlights.

Simon Boccanegra
Hvorostovsky, Frittoli, Vargas, Furlanetto / Levine (January-February)
The men's names speak for themselves.

Nixon in China (Met premiere with Peter Sellars production)
Maddalena, Kelly, Fink, Brubaker, Kim, Braun / Adams (February)
Ahh, the days when John Adams realized he needed an actual librettist.

Iphigénie en Tauride
Graham, Domingo, Groves, Hawkins / Summers (February-March)
Kitschy, over-the-top production + excellent music = ?

Fleming, Brownlee, Osborn, Siragusa, Banks, van Rensburg / Frizza (February-March)
"TBA" turns out to be Italian tenor Antonio Siragusa as Gernando (the José Manuel Zapata part in Act I). Most of the same players from the Rossini show that did well in the spring.

Lucia di Lammermoor
Dessay, Calleja, Tézier, Youn / Summers (February-March)
Dessay and Calleja should provide fireworks -- if Dessay is healthy (what's plan B?). Stephen Gaertner does one Enrico on March 12.

Roméo et Juliette
Gheorghiu, Beczala, Boulianne, Meachem, Morris / Domingo (March)
Undeterred by his inability to draw audiences from the pit in this season's Stiffelio, the Met saddles yet another impressive cast with Domingo's subpar stick work.

The Queen of Spades
Mattila, Galouzine, Markov, Mattei, Zajick / Nelsons (March)
Yet another incredible cast you'd be crazy to miss.

Le Comte Ory (new Bartlett Sher production)
Florez, DiDonato, Damrau, Resmark, Degout, Pertusi / Benini (March-April)
Don't know the piece, but the cast is certainly something.

Fleming, Kaiser, Braun, Rose, Connolly, Larsen / Davis (March-April)
The Countess is a tricky part, particularly for one of Fleming's instincts. But she did eventually make a success of the Marschallin...

Goerne, Meier, Skelton, Siegel, Fink / Levine (April)
I believe this will be Goerne's first appearance at the Met outside Papageno's bird suit. But even he, Waltraud Meier, and James Levine will be hard-pressed to sell out Berg's early modernist masterpiece -- or maybe not, considering the gratifying reception Berg's Lulu got in the spring.

Die Walküre (new Robert Lepage production)
Voigt, Terfel, Westbroek, Kaufmann, Blythe, König / Levine (April-May)
Again, an event no matter what.

Orfeo ed Euridice
Daniels, Royal, Oropesa / Walker (April-May)
Australian conductor Antony Walker debuts in the pit. Kate Royal debuts as Euridice. Countertenor David Daniels, though not lacking for fans, is vocally all wrong for the lead part.

Ariadne auf Naxos
Urmana, Kim, DiDonato, Smith, Allen / Luisi (May)
This season's revival was surprisingly good (Stemme was better than Urmana is likely to be), but Luisi in the pit adds another dimension.

Monday, September 13, 2010


For those who can't wait two weeks for Met-affiliated singing, three Lindemann singers are giving a recital at Bryant Park this Wednesday at 6.

A revised season preview post will be up soon.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

As it happened





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If the raw truth of even modest and non-fatal events (e.g. the performances that are the usual subject of this blog) demands domestication to the polite but stupid half-truths of civilized life, so much more the shattering truth of nine years ago. There's something to be said for that (though not for those encouraging such domestication and forgetting), but not by me.