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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Metropolitan Opera Announces 2013-2014 Season

New Productions: 6. Wagner: 0.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
"What do you mean, no horned helmets?"
Ambrogio Maestri is Sir John  Falstaff in Robert Carsen's production
of the Verdi opera,  premiering at the Met Dec. 6, 2013.
Photo by Catherine Ashmore © 2012 The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.
In continuation of its apparent determination to do things differently than every other arts organization in New York City, the Metropolitan Opera announced its 2013-2014 season schedule at 5pm tonight via the company's website.

It's an unusual schedule this year. Scratch that--it's downright weird. Some unloved productions from recent years return, including the Luc Bondy Tosca and Mary Zimmerman's controversial "rehearsal" version of La Sonnambula.  There are three operas by Bellini and three operas by Richard Strauss including the mighty Die Frau ohne Schatten. There are three Russian operas (two of them new productions) and one in Czech.

An article in the New York Times announced that ticket prices in the expensive seats will drop by 10%, with the burden being placed on Family Circle Balance seats--they go up 20%. Happily, the Rush Program will continue next year.

So what's missing? First of all, there is no Wagner on the schedule. Planned revivals of Tannhäuser and Parsifal were reportedly nixed in favor of Dvorak's Rusalka (starring Renée Fleming) and Berg's Wozzeck with Thomas Hampson and Deborah Voigt. And there's only two Verdi operas (Falstaff and a revival of the Vegas Rigoletto) after last year's slew of seven.

Also anticipated: the return of Shostakovich's The Nose, Sondra Radvanovsky and Angela Meade alternating in Norma and a much-needed revival of A Midsummer Night's Dream. But nothing is more eagerly anticipated than the return of music director James Levine to active duty after a long absence. He's scheduled to conduct a revival of Cosí fan tutte, the aforementioned Wozzeck and the new production of Falstaff.

That's one of six new productions. And here....they....are:


The Met opens its 2013 season with Eugene Onegin. Photo © 2012 The English National Opera.
Eugene Onegin: Season opener, starring (for the third year in a row) Anna Netrebko and Mariusz Kwiecien in the title role. A new prduction from the English National Opera that was originally supposed to open the 2012 season. Opening gala Sept. 23, first regular performance Sept. 26. There is a Met Live in HD telecast scheduled for Oct. 5. The second cast (with Peter Mattei and Marina Poplavskaya) starts Nov. 23.

Two Boys: A new opera by Nico Muhly and a(nother) co-production with the English National Opera. Bartlett Sher directs. Opens Oct. 21.

Falstaff: A Robert Carsen production starring Ambrogio Maestri as the wide-bellied British knight. Originally seen at the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden. Opens Nov. 6. Live in HD broadcast Dec. 14.

Die Fledermaus: A fizzy new production of the Johann Strauss operetta with an all-start cast. No word on whether there's a gala sequence, but for New Year's Eve I wouldn't be surprised. Opens Dec. 31, second run starts Feb. 3.

Prince Igor: Valery Gergiev returns to the Met podium to lead Borodin's great unfinished opera. Opens Feb. 6. Live in HD broadcast March 1.

Werther: Jonas Kaufmann shows his sensitive side as Massenet's suicidal poet. Opens Feb. 18. Live in HD cast March 15.
The Met is offering no Wagner productions in the coming season.
Now, the generale. (That's the fancy-schmancy insider's term for the rest of the opera season.) Just a list for now, full previews will follow this summer and all next season as part of the Metropolitan Opera Preview series on Superconductor. 

Cosí fan tutte (opens Sept. 24. This is  James Levine's scheduled return to conduct at the Met. A spring revival opens April 23 as a replacement for the planned-but-cancelled revival of The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny.)

The Nose (starts to run Sept. 28. Live in HD telecast is schedule for Oct. 26. Valery Gergiev conducts. Gesundheit!)

Norma  (opens Sept. 30. Features Sondra Radvanovsky and Angela Meade trading off performances of the title role. I want to see them both!)

A Midsummer Night's Dream  (opens Oct. 11. Commemorates the 100th birthday of Benjamin Britten.)

Tosca (Sorry folks, it's still the ugly Luc Bondy production. Opens Oct. 29. Live in HD broadcast on Nov. 9. Second cast starts Dec. 11)

Die Frau ohne Schatten (The first revival in a decade of Herbert Wernicke's production. Christine Goerke is the Dyer's Wife. Vladimir Jurowski conducts. Opens Nov. 7.)

Rigoletto (Vegas, baby! Opens Nov. 11.)

Der Rosenkavalier (This may be the last run for this venerable production, which is slated for replacement later this decade. Opens Nov. 22.)

L'Elisir d'Amore (Opens Jan. 9. Anna Netrebko returns in the title role.)

La bohéme (Opens Jan. 14. The Zeffirelli production. Second cast starts March 19. Live in HD cast April 5.)

Madama Butterfly (Opens Jan. 16. Second cast starts April 4.)

Rusalka (Renée Fleming returns in the title role. Opens Jan. 23. Met Live in HD cast Feb. 8.)

The Enchanted Island (The Shakespeare pastiche returns, starring Susan Graham, Daniele Di Niesi and Diana Damrau. Opens Feb. 26.)

Wozzeck (Deborah Voigt and Thomas Hampson star. This is Mr. Hampson's first Wozzeck. James Levine conducts. Opens March 6.)

La Sonnambula (Diana Damrau walks in her sleep in Mary Zimmerman's controversial production. Opens March 14,)

Andrea Chenier (Marcélo Àlvarez sings the title role. Opens March 24.)

Arabella (Malin Bystrom takes the title role. Opens April 3.)

I Puritani (This was rumored to be a new production but it's the old reliable starring tenor Lawrence Brownlee. Opens April 17.)

La Cenerentola (Opens April 21. Joyce DiDonato sings the title role. Live in HD cast on May 10, last day of the 2013-2014 season.)

Holiday Offering: 
The Magic Flute (opens Dec. 16.) It's more like The Magic Piccolo. This truncated, family-friendly version of the Mozart classic is aimed squarely at the younger set. Jane Glover conducts. And it's sung in English.
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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.