Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Looking forward: the 2012-13 Met season announcement, annotated

As in previous years, operas are listed in order of first appearance. Some one-off cast combinations are omitted.

L'Elisir d'Amore (new Bartlett Sher production)
Netrebko, Polenzani, Kwiecien, Maestri / Benini (opening night through October)
Netrebko, Polenzani, Kwiecien, TBA / Benini (late January through early February)
Anna Netrebko gets a second consecutive opening night.  Nemorino is an excellent part for Matthew Polenzani, but I don't expect this to be any more satisfying for non-Netrebko fans than her previous shot (when her voice was better suited to such parts) at Donizetti comedy. I'd grade Bartlett Sher as one-for-three at the Met so far (Hoffmann yes, Barber and Comte Ory no), but his misses are at least inoffensive.

Guleghina, Gerzmava, Berti, Morris / Ettinger (September through early October)
Theorin, Kizart, Giordani, Morris / Ettinger (October 30 through early November)
Theorin, Gerzmava, Fraccaro, Ramey / Ettinger (January)
An interesting pair of Lius, and Maria Guleghina seems to be herself again after an atrocious Turandot run several seasons ago, but the tenor lineup isn't exactly exciting.

Royal, Rachvelishvili, Lee, Ketelsen / Mariotti (September 28 through October)
Scherbachenko, Rachvelishvili, Richards, Rhodes / Mariotti (February through March 1)
Young old-school mezzo Anita Rachvelishvili gets two runs, the first with excellent young Korean tenor Yonghoon Lee and the second with debutant Andrew Richards, who may have commented on this blog at some point...  A much more appetizing revival than the Turandot.

Il Trovatore
Giannattasio, Zajick, TBA, Vassallo, Robinson / Callegari (September 29 through early October)
Radvanovsky, Zajick, TBA, Vassallo, Robinson / Callegari (October)
Racette, Blythe, Berti, Markov, Stamboglis / Callegari (January)
Wasn't Anja Harteros supposed to be in this?  Not that the sopranos are objectionable -- it's the men who are eyebrow-raising.  It seems absurd to announce this show with no leading tenor attached, and it's hard to imagine the same Franco Vassallo who previously couldn't make an impact as Belcore now turning in a commanding di Luna.  Angela Meade has a single performance as Leonora on January 16.

Fleming, Botha, Fabiano, Struckmann / Bychkov (October)
Stoyanova, Cura, Dolgov, Hampson / Domingo (March)
Fall run:  revival of a classic 2008 cast, not to be missed.
Spring run:  bizarre in nearly every way, significant train-wreck possibility.

The Tempest (new Robert Lepage production)
Luna, Leonard, Davies, Shrader, Oke, Burden, Spence, Keenlyside / Adès (October-November)
I know nothing about this piece, but I'm pretty sure it can't be as irritating an attempt at unwriting the original Shakespeare as this season's Enchanted Island was.

Le Nozze di Figaro
Kovalevska, Erdmann, Schäfer, Finley, Abdrazakov / Robertson (October-November)
Very promising cast for this revival, though Mojca Erdmann is again in a part that's perhaps not quite high enough for her voice to shine.

Un Ballo in Maschera (new David Alden production)
Mattila, Kim, Zajick, Álvarez, Hvorostovsky / Luisi (November)
Mattila, Kim, Blythe, Álvarez, Hvorostovsky / Luisi (November-December)
I was hoping for this show with Radvanovsky and Calleja. No complaint -- obviously -- about Mattila, but as much as I enjoy Alvarez's artistry... Many will surely complain about Hvorostovsky lacking vocal weight, but if his concert with Radvanovsky was any indication, he can bring enough of his own particular electricity to make it a largely-incidental matter. Whether Alden's production will be helpful, incidental, or ruinous is another matter.

La Clemenza di Tito
Crowe, Frittoli, Garanca, Lindsey, Filianoti, Gradus / Bicket (November-December)
It's Garanca, not Lindsey, as Sesto. Not sure this is for the best.

Monastyrska, Borodina, Berti, Mastromarino, Kocán, Sebestyén / Luisi (November)
He, Borodina, Berti, Mastromarino, Kocán, Sebestyén / Luisi (December)
Monastyrska, Borodina, Alagna, Gagnidze, Kocán, Sebestyén / Luisi (December)
He, Borodina, Alagna, Gagnidze, Kocán, Sebestyén / Luisi (December)
Many different parts around Olga Borodina's Amneris. I suppose Fabio Luisi's appearance in this war-horse means he's serious about the Met commitment.

Don Giovanni
Phillips, Bell, Siurina, Castronovo, Abdrazakov, Schrott, Soar, Aceto / Gardner (late November through December)
After a spate of more baritonal Dons, Ildar Abdrazakov brings his bassy charisma to the part. Erwin Schrott, whom I've elsewhere found lacking in the humane element, is an interesting and perhaps inspired choice for Leporello. Exciting to see Susanna Phillips get a big Mozart part here again.

Les Troyens
Voigt, Graham, Cargill, Giordani, Cutler, Croft, Youn / Luisi (December-January)
It seems that Susan Graham has been waiting forever for this revival -- and in fact it will have been almost a decade since that magic first run with Lorraine Hunt-Lieberson's great Met triumph as Didon. Not sure what vocal form the other principals will show, but I think I'll miss Matthew Polenzani's utterly perfect Iopas this time...

The Barber of Seville (abridged holiday version)
Leonard, Shrader, Pogossov, Del Carlo, Bisch / Abel (December-January)
As usual for these holiday shows, the casting is pretty good.

Maria Stuarda (new David McVicar production)
van den Heever, DiDonato, Meli, Hopkins, Rose / Benini (New Year's Eve through January)
Finally, a big Joyce DiDonato bel canto vehicle -- and with the heralded debut of soprano Elza van den Heever to boot. McVicar's Anna Bolena was tasteful and literal and dull, but his promise of a "freer" physical production for this Donizetti installment is a good sign.

La Rondine
Opolais, Christy, Filianoti, Brenciu, Croft / Marin (January)
Kristine Opolais was supposed to have debut in last season's Boheme (as Musetta), but didn't for whatever reason. There's good music in this opera, but I'm not sure it will be half as interesting without the meta-angle that Angela Gheorghiu brought to its last run. Incidentally, Ion Marin hasn't conducted at the Met since 1993.

Le Comte Ory
Machaidze, Deshayes, Resmark, Flórez, Gunn, Ulivieri / Benini (January-February)
The least appealing Florez vehicle to date gets a revival with the impressive but perhaps miscast Nino Machaidze and no Joyce DiDonato.

Rigoletto (new Michael Mayer production)
Damrau, Volkova, Beczala, Lucic, Kocán / Mariotti (late January through February)
Oropesa, Herrera, Grigolo, Gagnidze, Iori / Armiliato (April through May 1)
I don't think the first cast can work (excellent singing, poor fit-to-part), and Vittorio Grigolo's unbearable and overhyped debut has me quite wary of the otherwise-promising spring lineup. As for the new Las Vegas-set production, who knows?

Parsifal (new François Girard production)
Dalayman, Kaufmann, Mattei, Nikitin, Pape / Gatti (February-March)
Dalayman, Kaufmann, Mattei, Nikitin, Pape / Fisch (March)
When the most doubtful part of a cast is Jonas Kaufmann (who wasn't that great in his last Wagner outing here), you've got one heck of a promising show. This is Girard's first big-house/standard-rep show; he of course directed the film 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould.

Don Carlo
Radvanovsky, Smirnova, Vargas, Hvorostovsky, Furlanetto, Halfvarson / Maazel (February-March)
A fantastic cast that perhaps should have been the premiere lineup.

Francesca da Rimini
Westbroek, Giordani, Brubaker, Delavan / Armiliato (March)
Mark Delavan returns! Not sure how well the rest will go.

La Traviata
Damrau, Pirgu, Domingo / Nézet-Séguin (March-April)
Promising young tenor (Saimir Pirgu) and the season's only scheduled appearances by great conductorial hope Yannick Nézet-Séguin, but it's already past time for Gelb to kill this insultingly stupid & bathetic Willy Decker nonsense under the rubric of having many and rapid new productions. Violetta and papa Germont allow a range of voices, but Diana Damrau and Placido Domingo nevertheless aren't the most obvious choices for these either...

Poplavskaya, Boulianne, Beczala, Markov, Relyea / Altinoglu (March-April)
Another good tenor, but the rest isn't inspiring. I really liked Marina Poplavskaya's Elisabetta, but her utter humorlessness is a terrible fit for Marguerite.

Giulio Cesare
Dessay, Coote, Bardon, Daniels, Dumaux, Loconsolo / Bicket (April-May)
Dessay's Cleopatra worth the rest? Depends.

Dialogues des Carmélites
Leonard, Racette, Morley, Bishop, Palmer, Appleby / Langrée (May)
This show always works, but I'm not sure Louis Langree is the man to conduct it.

The Ring
Voigt, Morris, Delavan / Luisi (Cycle 1)
Dalayman, Morris, Delavan / Luisi (Cycle 2)
Voigt, Cleveman, Grimsley / Luisi (Cycle 3)
Mark Delavan's Met return is in fact rather huge, with two Ring cycles. The casting as a whole is a bit less starry than this year's, but the staging kinks may have been worked out by 2013.


After some rather distracting upheaval in my life, posting to the blog will resume immediately. To begin: a post looking forward (the next Met season), and a post looking backward (all unreviewed shows I've seen in 2012).