Monday, September 26, 2011

First week of the NY opera season (Sept. 26-Oct. 2)

With City Opera in exile, James Levine re-injured and in limbo, the least appetizing Met season in memory even before Levine's mishap and consequent cancellations, tenor Salvatore Licitra recently dead in a scooter accident, and the entire European financial system (a vital indirect source of Met revenue, among other things) perhaps set to implode, this is the gloomiest start to an opera season I can remember. Nevertheless, big opera returns, as does this weekly feature. A revised Met season preview will shortly follow, along with a post on Atys.

Metropolitan Opera:
Anna Bolena (M/F), Nabucco (Tu/SE), Barber (SM)
I confess I have no interest in seeing the new Donizetti production with Netrebko, whose bel canto days are a distant memory. Garanca's pregnancy-induced cancellation has deprived the rest of the intriguing cast of some star power but not, perhaps, much musical interest, as mezzo Ekaterina Gubanova gets a meatier part for her talents than her appearance in the 2009 Hoffmann offered; meanwhile tenor Stephen Costello gets to show if the buzz from his 2007 opening night Arturo was warranted. We've already seen Nabucco's exciting tenor -- Yonghoon Lee -- in a cornerstone role, though of course Ismaele doesn't sing nearly as much as Don Carlos. Still, he and the rest of the cast -- including Lucic, an apparently-rejuvenated Guleghina, and, in a tiny tiny debut part, 2007 Met Council winner Amber Wagner -- should give the Met's most recently-discovered warhorse some life. And yes, the only real reason to see yet another Barber revival is Peter Mattei in the title part, but that is a good reason.

Please note the new, less civilized start time of 7:30PM for non-gala evening shows.

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Absolutely no axe-grinding, please.