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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Metropolitan Opera Announces 2011-2012 Season

This is all very exciting, but you can now visit the 2012-2013 Metropolitan Opera Season Announcement.

Visit the Superconductor 2011-2012 Metropolitan Opera Season Preview, with profile pages on all the operas being done at the Met this year.

"We try to keep drama confined to the stage, but as you know this is an opera house, which is why your eyes are constantly glued to the opera blogs. I check them myself to make sure I haven't retired."
--Met general manager Peter Gelb, at today's press conference.
Gary Lehman is Siegfried.

The Met announced its 2011-2012 season with a press conference that was broadcast in live streaming audio on the Internet. Since I'm a subscriber, I got to listen, and since I'm a blogger, I get to write about it.

Here's what's on tap for next year:

The Met has announced seven new productions for 2011-2012, counting the forthcoming stagings of Siegfried and Götterdämmerung that will take the boards next Fall and Winter.

The other five new stagings include (badly needed) new productions of Don Giovanni and Faust, which will hopefully be better than their predecessors: the terminally dull brick-and-mortar Don and the ridonkulous 2005 Faust that featured Rene Pape prancing around the stage in a foam rubber "devil suit" inspired by a William Blake painting.
Deborah Voigt is Brunnhilde in
Siegfried and Götterdämmerung.

Anna Bolena Sept. 26 (Opening Night)
Anna Netrebko goes under the axe in the Met's first-ever production of the Donizetti drama based on the life of the unfortunate Tudor queen who was indirectly responsible for founding the Church of England. This is the first of a projected Donizetti "Queens" trilogy: Maria Stuarda is planned for 2012, and Roberto Devereux for 2013. David McVicar is scheduled to direct all three productions.

All three operas are being staged at the Met for the very first time.

Hey, it only took them 180 years.

Don Giovanni Oct. 13
The Met has taken a few cracks at Giovanni in the last few decades. Franco Zeffirelli tackled the opera, with mixed results--in fact the Zeff Don was the first of his mega-productions to get tossed on the dust-heap. Its follow-up (by Marthe Keller) was a dull brick-and-mortar affair that put audiences to sleep. The new, sexed-up Don will be directed by Michael Grandage, the Tony Award-winner who staged Red. Mariusz Kwiecien sings the title role in the fall. Gerald "Doctor Atomic" Finley will sing it in the spring. James Levine conducts.

Siegfried Oct. 27
(Now in eye-popping 3-D!)
Despite the late-hour decision by Ben Heppner to cancel his appearance in the title role, this installment of Wagner's Ring should allow director Robert Lepage a chance to show his stuff. Gary Lehman sings Siegfried opposite Deborah Voigt as Brünnhilde. This is also the first Met production to make use of 3D digital "fractal" technology projected onto the planks of the Machine. 3D glasses will not be required, robbing the Met Opera Shop of a marketing opportunity.

Faust Nov. 29
Jonas Kaufmann sings the title role in Faust.
This new staging by Canadian director Des MacAnuff is a co-production with the English National Opera Mr. McAnuff updates the opera to the 20th century and makes Goethe's medieval mystic into a mad scientist working to finish the atomic bomb, is bound to be some improvement over the Met's 2005 version of Faust, as mentioned above.

Faust stars Jonas Kaufmann in the title role and René Pape as Méphistopheles. According to a March 7 announcement, soprano Angela Gheorghiu, originally cast as Marguerite, will be replaced, by  Marina Poplavskaya. The Russian diva-on-the-rise made an excellent impression at the Met in 2010 productions of Verdi's Don Carlo as well as the lead role in La Traviata. Hopefully, Ms. Poplavskaya will be able to sing in French as well as she does in Italian.
David Daniels and Joyce DiDonato in The Enchanted Island.
The Enchanted Island Dec. 31, 2011
Directed by Phelim McDermott (whose last Broadway show was The Addams Family) Enchanted is a pastiche, built Frankenstein-style from little-known operas by Handel, Vivaldi, and others. It is a showcase for countertenor David Daniels, soprano Joyce DiDonato and other baroque specialists. Oh, and Placído Domingo is in it.

The story is a Shakespearean "interquel" with the lovers from A Midsummer Night's Dream winding up on the unknown island from The Tempest, playing off the clash between Prospero (Daniels) and Sycorax. Why the Met chose this path instead of just reviving and performing some of the complete operas, we'll never know.

Götterdämmerung Jan. 27
Robert Lepage has called this the most "social" opera of Wagner's massive Ring cycle. The Lepage Ring comes to its apocalyptic finish with the six-hour marathon of Twilight of the Gods.
  • What happens when a giant Wagnerian chorus meets Mr. Lepage's giant machine? 
  • Is there room for everybody on the stage? 
  • Will the digital Rhine flood virtually drown the assembled audience? 
  • Will Mr. Lepage light the Machine afire by plunging his broken spear into its breast as it collapses at the end, only to be renewed for the beginning of the next Das Rheingold
Stay tuned for the answers.
Anna Netrebko gets locked up in Manon.
Manon March 29
This is another Met co-production, this time with Covent Garden. Anna Netrebko is the latest diva to don Manon's finery. Piotr Beczala is her des Grieux. The production also stars Paulo Szot as Lescaut. (The baritone has apparently found his nose.) Featuring fabulous singing, fabulous outfits, and in the orchestra pit, Fabio Luisi. This new staging is directed by Laurent Pelly, whose production of La Fille du Regiment is also enjoying a revival this year.

With that, on to the Notable Revivals!

Here's the rest of the repertory, broken out by composer.

Benjamin Britten: Billy Budd
Gaetano Donizetti: L'Elisir d'Amore, La Fille du Regiment
Philip Glass: Satyagraha
Georg Friedrich Händel: Rodelinda
Engelbert Humperdinck: Hansel & Gretel
Leoš Janáček: The Makropoulos Case
Modest Mussorgsky: Khovanschina
Giacomo Puccini: La bohème, Madama Butterfly, Tosca
Gioachino Rossini: Il barbiere di Siviglia
Giuseppe Verdi: Aida, Ernani, MacbethNabucco, La Traviata
Family-friendly holiday production: Hansel & Gretel ("You know, for kids!")

The Complete Lepage Ring:
In addition to the premiere of the Lepage productions of Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, three complete Ring cycles are scheduled for the Spring of 2012. Hopefully, the much-ballyhooed $65 million dollar "Machine" set is up to the challenge--not to mention the singers. The Met Orchestra shouldn't have a problem, especially with James Levine conducting.

Live in HD Schedule:
Anna Bolena: Oct. 15, 2011
Siegfried: Nov. 5, 2011
Satyagraha: Nov. 19, 2011
Rodelinda: Dec. 3, 2011
Faust: Dec. 10, 2011
The Enchanted Island: Jan. 21, 2012
Götterdämmerung Feb. 11, 2012
Ernani Feb. 25, 2012
Manon April 7, 2012
La Traviata April 14, 2012
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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats

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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.