Here is the Metropolitan Opera’s 2011-12 Season announcement.
Wah Keung Chan
Seven New Productions, Including a World Premiere,
a Met Premiere, and the Complete Ring Cycle,
Headline the Met’s 2011-12 Season
James Levine conducts the final two installments of Robert Lepage’s production
of the Ring: Siegfried and Götterdämmerung; complete cycles scheduled
for April and May 2012
The season opens with the first-ever Met performance of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena,
starring Anna Netrebko in the first of two new productions she sings this season; Laurent Pelly’s production of Manon follows in April
The world premiere of The Enchanted Island, a pastiche of Baroque music and Shakespearean comedy, opens on New Year’s Eve
Tony Award-winning stage directors Michael Grandage and Des McAnuff
make their Met debuts with new productions of Don Giovanni and Faust
In its sixth season, The Met: Live in HD series will feature 11 live transmissions
New York, NY (February 16, 2011)—The Metropolitan Opera’s 2011-12 season will feature the world’s leading singers, conductors, and stage directors in seven new productions, including a world premiere, a Met premiere, and the first complete performances of a new Der Ring des Nibelungen cycle conducted by Music DirectorJames Levine and directed by Robert Lepage. The season includes the Met premiere of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, conducted by Marco Armiliato and directed by David McVicar (the beginning of an ambitious multi-season project to produce all three of Donizetti’s famous “Queen” operas directed by McVicar); The Enchanted Island, the world premiere of a Baroque pastiche with an original libretto by Jeremy Sams and set to the music of Handel, Vivaldi, Rameau, and others, conducted by William Christie anddirected by Phelim McDermott; the Met debuts of Tony Award winners Michael Grandage and Des McAnuff with new productions of Don Giovanni, conducted by Levine, and Faust, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin; a new production of Massenet’s Manon conducted by Principal Guest Conductor Fabio Luisi and directed by Laurent Pelly; and Robert Lepage’s productions of Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, the third and fourth installments of Wagner’s Ring cycle, both conducted by Levine.
The new season was announced at a press conference held at the Met with Peter Gelb, General Manager, and James Levine, Music Director.
Gelb said, “The entire company is energized by the prospect of our new Ring cycle being fully realized. Our goal is to fill our seasons with a wide range of new productions and revivals to keep our audience stimulated from start to finish.” Gelb noted that surveys done by the Met show that the average age of a subscriber went from 66.4 in 2005 to 64.8 in 2011. In that same period, the age of the average Met audience member (including single sale customers and subscribers) went from 60.4 in 2005 to 57.7 in 2011. “Our audience is in transition and our presentations are intended to please both its older and younger segments.”
Levine said, “It is so exciting and gratifying to see the company’s horizons expand as the repertory continues to grow. In addition, we have a whole new generation of world class artists coming into their prime years, and this season features many opportunities for us to hear them at their best.”
Anna Bolena – Gaetano Donizetti
The season opens September 26 with the Met premiere of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, starring Anna Netrebko as the young queen of the title and conducted by Marco Armiliato. Elīna Garanča is Giovanna (Jane Seymour); Stephen Costello is Lord Percy; Ildar Abdrazakov is Enrico (Henry VIII); andTamara Mumford is the queen’s page, Smeton. Generally considered one of Donizetti’s finest operas, Anna Bolena was the composer’s first international success. Though never performed at the Met, the opera was famously revived at La Scala with Maria Callas in the 1950s. Anna Bolena is the first of a trilogy of Donizetti’s operas based on the lives of Tudor-era queens that David McVicar will be directing at the Met in coming seasons. Maria Stuarda and Roberto Devereux complete the trilogy, each with a different design team. All three operas will be Met premieres.
David McVicar, whose 2009 production of Il Trovatore earned critical and audience acclaim, has said that his staging of Anna Bolena will “embrace the romanticism of the piece.” His production team is led by set designer Robert Jones, an Olivier Award-nominated English designer of opera and stage productions; costume designer Jenny Tiramani, who previously served as Director of Theatre Design at Shakespeare’s Globe; lighting designer Paule Constable, a three-time Olivier Award winner whose credits include War Horse on Broadway and Satyagraha at the Met; and choreographer George Andrew. Jones and Tiramani are making their Met debuts with Anna Bolena. The production is a gift of Mercedes and Sid R. Bass.
Don Giovanni – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
A new production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, directed by Tony Award winner Michael Grandage in his Met debut, opens October 13. Grandage says, “Don Giovanni has a charismatic lust for life, but he’s not just some serial seducer; he’s a dark, complex individual.” The opera has two casts of gifted Mozart singers. The first, conducted by James Levine and led by Mariusz Kwiecien in the title role, features the Met debuts of Latvian soprano Marina Rebeka as Donna Anna and German soprano Mojca Erdmann as Zerlina. Ramón Vargas as Don Ottavio, Luca Pisaroni as Leporello, and Štefan Kocán as the Commendatore sing their roles for the first time at the Met, while Barbara Frittoli and Joshua Bloom reprise their performances of Donna Elvira and Masetto. A later cast, conducted by Andrew Davis, will star Gerald Finley as the legendary seducer, opposite Annette Dasch as Donna Elvira, Isabel Leonard as Zerlina, Matthew Polenzani as Don Ottavio, John Relyea as Leporello, Shenyang as Masetto, and James Morris as the Commendatore. Rebeka will sing Donna Anna in both casts. Grandage’s production will feature the Met debuts of Tony Award winner Christopher Oram (set and costume design) and Ben Wright (choreography), with lighting design by Paule Constable in her second new Met production of the season. The production is a gift of the Richard and Susan Braddock Family Foundation, with additional funding from Mr. and Mrs. Ezra K. Zilkha.
Siegfried – Richard Wagner
Robert Lepage’s production of Siegfried opens October 27, with Maestro Levine conducting and Gary Lehman in his first Met performances of the title role. Singers from earlier operas in the Ring cycle also appear, including Deborah Voigt as Brünnhilde, Patricia Bardon as Erda, Bryn Terfel as the Wanderer, and Eric Owens and Gerhard Siegel as the greedy brothers Alberich and Mime. For this third installment of Wagner’s great epic, Lepage introduces a new 3D technology as part of the projections that transform the set into startlingly dramatic images that readjust as the scenery moves and changes shapes. Developed by Réalisations.net, the innovative software, called Maginaire, programmed by Catalin Alexandru Duru, has never before been used in a theatrical presentation. Siegfried is the only opera in the new Ring to make use of this technology, which will be utilized to create an enhanced sense of theatrical realism for Siegfried’s forest dwelling. “When you come to Siegfried,” Lepage says, “you can fully appreciate the complexity and genius of the leitmotifs Wagner has used to create another world. That is what we must do onstage as well—create an organic world of dragons and bears and insects and other creatures, where Siegfried can prove himself the strong, fearless, virile hero.”
The production team also includes associate director Neilson Vignola, set designer Carl Fillion, costume designer François St-Aubin, lighting designerEtienne Boucher, and video image artist Pedro Pirés. The production is a gift of Ann Ziff and the Ziff family, in memory of William Ziff, and is presented in collaboration with Ex Machina.
Faust – Charles Gounod
On November 29, a new production of Gounod’s Faust opens, set by Tony Award-winning director Des McAnuff (Met debut) in the first part of the 20th century. McAnuff is interested in the opera’s philosophies of “personal responsibility…I think that’s the Faustian journey right there. It’s trying to escape from ultimate knowledge, which includes evil.” Star tenor Jonas Kaufmann sings his first Met performances of the title role, opposite Angela Gheorghiu as the innocent Marguerite, Russell Braun as Valentin, and René Pape as Méphistophélès; Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who led the new production premieres ofCarmen and Don Carlo in recent seasons, conducts his first Met performances of the opera. Later casts include Marina Poplavskaya, Roberto Alagna,Joseph Calleja, and Ferruccio Furlanetto, as well as conductor Alain Altinoglu’s first performances of Faust at the Met. Theatrical designers Robert Brill(sets) and Paul Tazewell (costumes) make their Met debuts with this production, which also features lighting design by Peter Mumford, video design byDustin O’Neill, choreography by Kelly Devine, and fight direction by Stephen Rankin. Faust is a co-production of the Metropolitan Opera and the English National Opera, where this production premiered earlier this season.
The Enchanted Island
On New Year’s Eve, the Met will present The Enchanted Island, a world premiere creation using Baroque music set to an all-new English-language libretto by Jeremy Sams, who collaborated with Baroque specialist William Christie, who conducts. Works by George Frideric Handel, Jean-Philippe Rameau, and Antonio Vivaldi make up the majority of the score with smaller excerpts of pieces by André Campra, Jean-Marie Leclair, and others. The opera combines characters and plot elements from two Shakespeare plays: the four mismatched lovers from A Midsummer Night’s Dream are shipwrecked on an island whereThe Tempest’s Prospero and Sycorax are embroiled in a supernatural battle. The starry cast includes Danielle de Niese as Ariel, Lisette Oropesa as Miranda,Joyce DiDonato as Sycorax, David Daniels as Prospero, Anthony Roth Costanzo as Ferdinand, and Luca Pisaroni as Caliban – with a special appearance byPlácido Domingo as Neptune. Director Phelim McDermott, associate director and set designer Julian Crouch, and costume designer Kevin Pollard, the team behind the Met’s production of Philip Glass’s Satyagraha, have created an opulent, imaginative showcase for this 21st-century interpretation of an 18th-century pasticcio. Lighting designer Brian MacDevitt, choreographer Graciela Daniele, and animation and projection design company 59 Productions help to create the magical world of The Enchanted Island.
As an operatic pasticcio or pastiche, The Enchanted Island harks back to the 18th century, when adapting new words to music from various composers to create an altogether new theatrical piece became standard procedure in opera houses. According to The New Grove Dictionary of Music, the tradition began in late 17th-century Italy but flourished particularly in London, where Handel himself was a prominent practitioner. “We wanted to create a modern vehicle for Baroque music featuring artists who are virtuoso performers of this style, so I turned to Jeremy Sams and William Christie,” explained Gelb. “I believe this hybrid creation will showcase some of the great music of the period in a way that will honor the Baroque tradition, yet be modern in spirit – especially with a creative team led by Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch.”
Götterdämmerung – Richard Wagner
Robert Lepage’s production of the final opera in the Ring cycle, Götterdämmerung, opens January 27. In the cycle’s thrilling conclusion, in which deception and greed lead to a global cataclysm, Deborah Voigt and Katarina Dalayman share the role of Brünnhilde and Gary Lehman and Stephen Gouldshare the role of Siegfried. The cast also includes Waltraud Meier as Waltraute, Eric Owens as Alberich, and, as the Gibichungs who scheme to destroy Siegfried, Hans-Peter König as Hagen, Wendy Bryn Harmer as Gutrune, and Iain Paterson as Gunther. “Götterdämmerung is different from the other Ringoperas because it is about society,” Lepage says. “The more the story progresses, the more it moves away from the realm of the gods to focus on the power and ambition of human beings. Götterdämmerung is about Brünnhilde in society, her journey as a character, and her role as the heroine who must restore balance to the world.” Lepage’s design team from Siegfried reassembles to create the visuals for the final segment of the Ring. The production is a gift of Ann Ziff and the Ziff family, in memory of William Ziff, and is presented in collaboration with Ex Machina.
Manon – Jules Massenet
Anna Netrebko opens her second new production of the season on March 26, portraying the impetuous, tragic title character in Massenet’s Manon for the first time at the Met. Also making Met role debuts are Piotr Beczala as Manon’s lover the Chevalier des Grieux, Paulo Szot as her cousin Lescaut, andDavid Pittsinger as the Comte des Grieux. Met Principal Guest Conductor Fabio Luisi conducts his first house performances of the work. Laurent Pelly’s stylish production, starring Netrebko, premiered to outstanding reviews at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in 2010. Pelly says that his production of the opera will provide “an adventure that amuses, moves, and frightens” the audience. The production reunites Pelly’s design team from 2008’s La Fille du Régiment: Chantal Thomas (sets), Pelly (costumes), and Joël Adam (lighting). French choreographer Lionel Hoche makes his Met debut with this production. Manon is underwritten by The Sybil B. Harrington Endowment Fund and is a co-production of the Metropolitan Opera, New York; the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London; Teatro alla Scala, Milan; and Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse.
The Met will present three complete cycles of the new production of Der Ring des Nibelungen in April and May 2012. The cycles will be the 108th, 109th and 110th presented at the Met since the first cycle in the Western Hemisphere premiered at the house in 1889. James Levine will conduct all three, as he has the last 21 complete cycles at the Met. Lepage’s production is the first new Met Ring since 1988, and only the third to premiere at the house in the last 50 years. The cycles will star Bryn Terfel as Wotan/The Wanderer, Deborah Voigt and Katarina Dalayman as Brünnhilde, Gary Lehman and Stephen Gould as Siegfried, Eva-Maria Westbroek as Sieglinde, Wendy Bryn Harmer as Freia and Gutrune, Stephanie Blythe as Fricka, Patricia Bardon as Erda, Karen Cargill in her Met debut as Waltraute, Jonas Kaufmann and Stuart Skelton as Siegmund, Stefan Margita as Loge, Gerhard Siegel and Robert Brubaker as Mime, Eric Owens and Richard Paul Fink as Alberich, Iain Paterson as Gunther, Hans-Peter König as Fafner, Hunding and Hagen, and Franz-Josef Selig as Fasolt.
Cycle 1 will open April 7 (Das Rheingold) and continue on April 13 (Die Walküre), April 21 (Siegfried), and April 24 (Götterdämmerung). Cycle 2 will play April 26 (Das Rheingold), 28 (Die Walküre), 30 (Siegfried), and May 3 (Götterdämmerung). Finally, Cycle 3 will take place on May 5 (Das Rheingold), 7 (Die Walküre), 9 (Siegfried), and 12 (Götterdämmerung).
Met Role Debuts
Many of the world’s greatest singers will add important new roles to their Met repertories in this season’s revivals. Among the most notable Met role debuts are: Natalie Dessay as Violetta in La Traviata; Karita Mattila as Emilia Marty in The Makropulos Case; Diana Damrau as Adina and Juan Diego Flórez as Nemorino inL’Elisir d’Amore; Thomas Hampson in the title role of Macbeth; Stephanie Blythe as Amneris and Marcelo Álvarez as Radamès in Aida; Olga Borodina as Marfa and Ildar Abdrazakov as Dosifei in Khovanshchina; Salvatore Licitra in the title role and Dmitri Hvorostovsky as Carlo in Ernani; Nathan Gunn in the title role of Billy Budd; Aleksandrs Antonenko as Cavaradossi in Tosca; Željko Lučić in the title role and Yonghoon Lee as Ismaele in Nabucco; Isabel Leonard as Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia; Hibla Gerzmava as Mimì, Dimitri Pittas as Rodolfo, and Alexey Markov as Marcello in La Bohème; Robert Dean Smith as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly; Nino Machaidze as Marie in La Fille du Régiment; and Kate Lindsey and Aleksandra Kurzak in the title roles of Hansel and Gretel.
Acclaimed Portrayals Reprised
Many stars will reprise some of their most acclaimed roles from recent seasons. Renée Fleming returns in the title role of Handel’s Rodelinda, and Patricia Racette encores her portrayals of two Puccini heroines, Cio-Cio-San and Tosca. Other artists in favorite roles include Maria Guleghina as Abigaille in Nabucco; Peter Matteias Figaro and Samuel Ramey as Don Basilio in Il Barbiere di Siviglia; Richard Croft as Gandhi in Satyagraha; Andreas Scholl as Bertarido in Rodelinda; Hei-Kyung Hong as Mimì and Susanna Phillips as Musetta in La Bohème; Marcello Giordani as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly; Lawrence Brownlee as Tonio in La Fille du Régiment; Angela Meade as Elvira in Ernani; Violeta Urmana in the title role of Aida; Matthew Polenzani as Alfredo in La Traviata; and James Morris as Claggart in Billy Budd.
Major Met Debuts
Notable Met debuts this season include tenors Javier Camarena (Oct. 1) and Alexey Kudrya (Oct. 26) as Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia; sopranos Marina Rebeka as Donna Anna and Mojca Erdmann as Zerlina in Don Giovanni on October 13; the countertenors Iestyn Davies (Nov. 14) and Anthony Roth Costanzo (Dec. 7) as Unulfo in Rodelinda; bass Matthew Rose as Colline in La Bohème on November 18; conductor Robin Ticciati in Hansel and Gretel on December 16; soprano Malin Byströmas Marguerite in Faust on December 23; conductor Mikko Franck in Tosca on January 10; baritone Laurent Naouri as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly on February 17; tenorMisha Didyk as Andrei and bass Anatoli Kotscherga as Ivan Khovansky in Khovanshchina on February 27; soprano Nadja Michael as Lady Macbeth in Macbeth on March 15; mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill as Waltraute in Götterdämmerung on April 24; Johan Reuter as Jaroslav Prus in The Makropulos Case on April 27; and tenor John Daszak as Captain Vere in Billy Budd on May 4.
The Met: Live in HD 2011-12
The 2011-12 season of The Met: Live in HD will feature 11 transmissions, beginning on October 15 with Anna Bolena and continuing with Don Giovanni (October 29), Siegfried (November 5), Satyagraha (November 19), Rodelinda (December 3), Faust (December 10), The Enchanted Island (January 21), Götterdämmerung (February 11), Ernani (February 25), Manon (April 7), and La Traviata (April 14).
The company’s enormously successful Peabody and Emmy Award-winning series of live transmissions into movie theaters, which enters its sixth season in 2011-12, currently reaches more than 1,500 theaters in 46 countries. In the last completed season, 2009-10, a record-breaking 2.4 million tickets were sold in more than 1,200 theaters in 43 countries. The nine transmissions earned more than $48 million in gross box office revenues, of which the Met’s portion was $24 million. After production costs and revenue sharing, the Met realized more than $8 million in net revenue. To date, more than 7 million tickets have been sold worldwide to The Met: Live in HD series.
Tickets for the 11 transmissions in the 2011-12 Met: Live in HD series will go on sale in September; Met members in the U.S. and Canada will have ticket priority before tickets are made available to the general public.
The Met: Live in HD series is made possible by a generous grant from its founding sponsor, The Neubauer Family Foundation. Global corporate sponsorship of The Met: Live in HD is provided by Bloomberg.
Archived transmissions from The Met: Live in HD began airing on PBS in January 2007. The series, called Great Performances at the Met, is produced in association with PBS and WNET, with support from Toll Brothers, America’s luxury home builder®.
New Ticket Prices and Curtain Times
There will be a modest increase in ticket prices for the new season, averaging 2.7% on subscriptions and 4.2% on single sale prices. The lowest-priced seats, at $25, will not be increased. Even with this increase, approximately one third of the Met’s seats are priced at $100 or less.
In response to customer requests for an earlier start time, the curtain time for most weekday performances this season will be 7:30 p.m. Longer operas such as Khovanshchina and the last three parts of the Ring cycle are exceptions and have earlier curtain times. The standard curtain time for Saturday matinees remains 1:00 p.m. and for Saturday evenings, 8:00 p.m. Some performances have start times that are different from the standard ones, so opera-goers should check the times on their tickets.
The Met’s successful Agnes Varis and Karl Leichtman Rush Ticket program will continue for a sixth season, thanks to the support of Met Board member Agnes Varis and her husband, Karl Leichtman. The program provides up to two tickets per customer for selected orchestra seats at the sharply discounted price of $20, available two hours before curtain time. Two hundred Varis Rush Tickets are available for most Monday to Thursday evening performances, with the exception of galas, the openings of new productions, and the spring performances that are part of complete Ring cycles. The Met also reserves 50 Varis Rush tickets per performance for senior citizens.
The Varis Rush Ticket program will once again offer orchestra seats for weekend performances through an online lottery conducted onwww.metopera.org. Up to two tickets per winner in prime seating locations are available for $25 a ticket to all weekend performances with the exception of galas, the opening nights of The Enchanted Island and Götterdämmerung, and the spring performances that are part of complete Ring cycles.
The Met’s 2011-12 season will feature 19 revivals, ranging from standard repertory productions with starry casts to revivals of rarely performed operatic masterpieces. Philip Glass’s Satyagraha will have its first Met revival in Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch’s innovative production, conducted by Dante Anzolini, who led the opera’s Met premiere. Richard Croft will reprise his lead performance as Gandhi, with Rachelle Durkin, Kim Josephson, and Alfred Walker in principal roles.
Janáček’s The Makropulos Case will return to the Met for the first time since 2001, with Karita Mattila in the starring role of the supernaturally youthful diva Emilia Marty and Janáček specialist Jiří Bělohlávek conducting. Kurt Streit and Johan Reuter (in his Met debut) are two of Emilia’s admirers and Tom Fox is the skeptical lawyer Kolenatý.
Another 20th-century opera, Britten’s Billy Budd, has its first Met revival since 1997, with Nathan Gunn singing the title role for the first time at the Met.John Daszak makes his Met debut as Captain Vere and James Morris sings the villain John Claggart in Britten’s adaptation of the classic Melville novella, conducted by David Robertson.
Handel’s Rodelinda will return to the repertory, with Renée Fleming again singing the title role of the Queen of Lombardy, and Kobie van Rensburgand Stephanie Blythe as Grimoaldo and Eduige. Harry Bicket, who led the opera’s first performances at the Met, returns to conduct. Countertenors Andreas Scholl (as the usurped king Bertarido) and Iestyn Davies (in his Met debut as Unulfo, Bertarido’s friend) and bass-baritone Shenyang (as the evil Garibaldo) complete the cast of Stephen Wadsworth’s acclaimed production.
Russian opera is represented this season by Mussorgsky’s dramatic historical epic Khovanshchina, not heard at the Met since 1999. Anatoli Kotschergaand Misha Didyk make their Met debuts in the roles of Ivan and Andrei Khovansky, surrounded by an outstanding cast of Russian and Georgian artists that includes Olga Borodina as Marfa, Vladimir Galouzine as Vasily Golitsin, George Gagnidze as Shaklovity, Ildar Abdrazakov as Dosifei, and conductor Kirill Petrenko.
Puccini lovers will hear revivals of the composer’s three most popular works. Madama Butterfly, in Anthony Minghella’s stunning production, will star Liping Zhang and Patricia Racette in the heartbreaking title role, with Robert Dean Smith and Marcello Giordani as the callous Lieutenant Pinkerton. Maria Zifchak returns to the role of Suzuki and Luca Salsi and Laurent Naouri (in his Met debut) sing Sharpless. Plácido Domingo, Marco Armiliato, and Yves Abel will each conduct performances of Butterfly in the coming season. Carolyn Choa, the production’s original choreographer and associate director, returns to stage the revival.
Racette will also sing the title role of Tosca, a part that earned her tremendous acclaim when she first sang it at the Met in 2010. Two tenors will alternate as her lover Cavaradossi: Roberto Alagna, who made an unexpected Met role debut in the part in the current season and Aleksandrs Antonenko, singing the role for the first time at the Met. Scarpia will be sung by George Gagnidze and James Morris. Young Finnish conductor Mikko Franck makes his Met debut.
Puccini’s enduring classic La Bohème, in Franco Zeffirelli’s spectacular staging, will return next season with Hibla Gerzmava and Hei-Kyung Hong as Mimì and Dimitri Pittas as Rodolfo. Susanna Phillips reprises her winning portrayal of Musetta and Alexey Markov, Patrick Carfizzi, and Matthew Rose (in his Met debut) comprise Rodolfo’s circle of bohemian friends. Louis Langrée conducts his first Met performances of the opera.
Bartlett Sher’s rollicking production of Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia returns to the Met for an extended run, with two casts of stars conducted byMaurizio Benini. An October revival will star Peter Mattei as Figaro and Isabel Leonard in her Met role debut as Rosina, with Javier Camarena making his Met debut as Count Almaviva, Maurizio Muraro as Dr. Bartolo, and Paata Burchuladze and Samuel Ramey singing Don Basilio. A spring run will feature Diana Damrau as Rosina, with Rodion Pogossov as Figaro, Colin Lee as Almaviva, John Del Carlo as Dr. Bartolo, and Ferruccio Furlanetto as Don Basilio.
Two Donizetti comedies will join Barbiere on the lighter side of the season. L’Elisir d’Amore has a glittering cast of bel canto stars: Diana Damrau as the beautiful Adina, Juan Diego Flórez as the bumbling Nemorino, Mariusz Kwiecien as the cocky Belcore, and Alessandro Corbelli as the elixir-dispensing Dulcamara. Donato Renzetti conducts.
Laurent Pelly’s production of La Fille du Régiment returns for a third engagement, with Nino Machaidze making her house role debut in the title role and Lawrence Brownlee returning to the high C-laden role of Tonio. Kiri Te Kanawa will again grace the Met stage in the speaking role of the Duchess of Krakenthorp, while Ann Murray and Maurizio Muraro sing the comic roles of the Marquise of Berkenfield and Sulpice. Yves Abel conducts the opera for the first time at the Met.
Verdi operas are heavily represented in the season, with five revivals of the composer’s works. Natalie Dessay sings her first Met performances of Violetta in Willy Decker’s innovative 2010 production of La Traviata, conducted by Met Principal Guest Conductor Fabio Luisi, with Matthew Polenzani reprising his portrayal of Alfredo and Dmitri Hvorostovsky as Giorgio Germont. Thomas Hampson makes a house role debut as the title character in Macbeth, opposite the Lady Macbeth of debuting soprano Nadja Michael. Verdi specialist Gianandrea Noseda conducts.
Sonja Frisell’s grand production of Aida will feature Stephanie Blythe in her first Met performances of Amneris, opposite Violeta Urmana in the title role and Marcelo Álvarez as Radamès. Ernani will star Salvatore Licitra in the title role and Angela Meade—in her first full run of Met performances—as Elvira, with Dmitri Hvorostovsky as Carlo and Ferruccio Furlanetto as de Silva. Marco Armiliato will conduct both revivals.
The biblical epic Nabucco returns for 12 performances, with Maria Guleghina and Marianne Cornetti singing the role of Abigaille, and Željko Lučić in the title role. Tenor Yonghoon Lee, whose Met debut in the title role of Don Carlo was much admired this season, sings Ismaele and Paolo Carignaniconducts.
Holiday Presentation: Hansel and Gretel
The Met’s annual series of English-language holiday performances will continue beginning December 16 with a revival of Richard Jones’s whimsical production of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel. The production, presented at special family-oriented prices for holiday weekday matinees, will starAleksandra Kurzak and Heidi Stober (in her Met debut) as Gretel, opposite Alice Coote and Kate Lindsey as Hansel. The cast also includes Michaela Martens as Gertrude; Robert Brubaker as the Witch; and Dwayne Croft as Peter; Robin Ticciati conducts in his Met debut.
Jonas Kaufmann in Recital
Tenor Jonas Kaufmann, who stars in next season’s productions of Faust and Die Walküre, will make his New York recital debut at the Met on Sunday, October 30 at 5 p.m., with pianist Helmut Deutsch. The recital program will be announced at a later date. New and renewing subscribers will have the option of ordering advance tickets to this event with their subscriptions, and single tickets will go on sale when the Met box office opens in fall 2011.
The Arnold and Marie Schwartz Gallery Met
During the 2011-12 season, the contemporary art space located in the Met’s south lobby will present two new exhibitions related to Wagner’s Ringcycle. Admission is free and Gallery Met is open to the public six days a week; the hours are Monday through Friday from 6 p.m. through the last intermission, and Saturdays from noon through the last intermission of the evening performance. For more information, visit metopera.org/gallerymet.
New DVD and CD releases
Twenty-two Met: Live in HD transmissions are currently available on DVD, including the recent releases of Armida, Madama Butterfly, Salome, Doctor Atomic, and Simon Boccanegra. The Audition, the acclaimed feature-length documentary directed by Susan Froemke, is also available.
Later this month, two additional titles from the Live in HD series, Aida and Turandot, will be released; these titles will initially be made available exclusively through Target. All other DVDs are available at the Met Opera Shop in the opera house lobby and online at metoperashop.org. Also available are the box sets James Levine: Celebrating 40 Years at the Met, which collect some of the Met music director’s most memorable performances on 32 CDs and 21 DVDs.
Following the January 2011 CD release of four performances from the Met archives—Tosca with Leontyne Price and Franco Corelli, plus exceptional performances of Roméo et Juliette, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and La Bohème—Sony will continue to release live audio recordings drawn from the Met’s vast archive of radio broadcasts. Additional titles scheduled for upcoming release throughout the 2011-12 season include performances featuring legendary Met stars such as Montserrat Caballé, Zinka Milanov, Birgit Nilsson, Risë Stevens, Jussi Björling, Robert Merrill, Richard Tucker, and Jon Vickers.
Furthering its innovative use of electronic media to reach a global audience, the Met continues to expand the catalogue of Met Player, the popular online streaming subscription service. Met Player offers selections from the company’s extensive video and audio catalog of full-length performances online, on-demand, and in exceptional, state-of-the-art quality. Nearly 250 historic audio recordings and almost 100 full-length opera videos are available, including 34 of the company’s acclaimed Live in HD transmissions. New content, including HD productions and archival broadcasts, is added monthly. For select titles, Met Player now offers subtitles in Spanish, French, and German.
The Met on the Radio and the Web
The Met’s 81st consecutive Saturday Matinee Radio Broadcast season kicks off on December 3 with a live broadcast of Rodelinda, and continues through the May 3 matinee of The Makropulos Case. The broadcast season will once again be heard live over the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network. Margaret Juntwait returns for her eighth season as host and Ira Siff returns for his fifth season as commentator for the broadcasts, which feature a range of dynamic intermission features, live backstage interviews with artists, and the ever-popular Opera Quiz. The 2011-12 Metropolitan Opera Saturday matinee radio broadcast season will be sponsored by Toll Brothers, America’s luxury homebuilder®, with generous long-term support from the Annenberg Foundation and the Vincent A. Stabile Endowment for Broadcast Media, and through contributions from listeners worldwide.
Metropolitan Opera Radio on SIRIUS channel 78 and XM Radio channel 79 is planning its sixth season as the country’s premier subscription radio channel dedicated to opera. Up to three live performances will be broadcast each week during the season, beginning with the Met’s Opening Night performance of Anna Bolena on September 26, in addition to historic broadcasts from the Met’s vast collection. Metropolitan Opera Radio on SIRIUS XM is available to subscribers in the United States and Canada. The subscription requires a satellite radio or is available via the internet or the Dish Network satellite television service.
The Met will continue to stream one live performance per week during the 2011-12 season on its website at metopera.org. The Met website also features artist interviews, video and audio clips, photo galleries, and other information about Met productions and initiatives.
The MET Orchestra at Carnegie Hall
The MET Orchestra continues its highly acclaimed annual series at Carnegie Hall with three concerts conducted by James Levine. The October 16 concert will begin with guest soloist Richard Goode performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25 in C, K.503. Mezzo-soprano Christine Rice will sing the world premiere of “Closer to my own life” by John Harbison and Alice Munro, then the MET Orchestra will perform Gershwin’s popular An American in Paris.
The January 15 concert will feature Aaron Copland’s Clarinet Concerto (with soloist Anthony McGill), John Corigliano’s Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra (with soloist Stephen Williamson), Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder, sung by Renée Fleming, and Schumann’s Konzertstück for Four Horns and Orchestra, Op. 86.
The final Carnegie Hall concert of the season, on May 20, features solo violinist Christian Tetzlaff and the orchestra performing three diverse selections: Mozart’s Adagio for Violin and Orchestra in E, K. 261, Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64, and Schoenberg’s Violin Concerto, Op. 36.
The Metropolitan Opera/Lincoln Center Theater “Opera/Theater Commissions” Program
The Met/LCT Opera/Theater Commissions program continues with 11 composer/librettist teams participating. The first work to be produced from this program will be Nico Muhly’s debut opera, Two Boys, set to a libretto by Craig Lucas. A co-production with English National Opera, the opera will be directed by Bartlett Sher, debuting at ENO’s London Coliseum in June 2011 and at the Met during its 2013-14 season. A workshop was held early this year to explore further revisions to the score and libretto. A workshop of Michael Torke’s opera Senna, with a libretto by Michael Korie, based on a concept by Des McAnuff, was held in October 2010, directed by McAnuff. The creative team is now working on revisions resulting from the workshop experience.
Three other teams have identified subjects for their collaborations and have signed on to develop their projects. Composer Michael John LaChiusa and librettist Sybille Pearson are collaborating on an original story loosely based on the Scheherazade tale. Composer Jeanine Tesori and playwright Tony Kushner are collaborating on a project based on an original story by Kushner. Composer Scott Wheeler is working on an adaptation of Romulus Linney’s play The Sorrows of Frederick, adapted by the playwright before his death in January. The Met/LCT Opera/Theater Commissions program is funded by a generous gift to the Met from the Francis Goelet Charitable Trusts.
Educational and Audience Development Initiatives
The Met’s popular MetTalks series, which presents candid and informative panel discussions with the stars and creative teams of new productions, will return.The Met will also continue its popular Open House program, launched in 2006, which provides free dress rehearsal tickets to members of the general public.
The Met’s HD Live in Schools program will continue for its fifth season, offering free opera transmissions to New York City schools in partnership with the New York City Department of Education and the Metropolitan Opera Guild. The program now enters its fourth season nationally, partnering with school districts across the country to bring The Met: Live in HD to students and teachers. The Met’s HD education program includes backstage visits for students, where they learn about how costumes and scenery are constructed, Q&As with artists, access to final dress rehearsals, and teacher training workshops. Program and curriculum guides are created for in-school use in conjunction with HD screenings. The Met: HD Live in Schools is made possible by Bank of America.
Two popular initiatives for older students, both launched in the 2010-11 season, will continue in 2011-12. MetOperaStudents brings exclusive offers, including sharply discounted tickets, to full-time college and graduate students age 29 and under, in addition to access to select final dress rehearsals, Opera Shop discounts, and invitations to special events such as MetTalks with Met directors and stars. Eligible New York City college students will again be able to register to see Live in HD transmissions for free at screening locations in each of the five boroughs.
The Met Opera Shop
The Met Opera Shop features a wide variety of CDs, DVDs, gifts, and apparel. This exclusive collection of products is inspired by the operas on the Met stage and the architecture of the house, and also showcases DVDs of performances from the Met’s award-winning Live in HD series. The Met Opera Shop, located at the Metropolitan Opera in Lincoln Center, is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm and Sundays from noon to 6:00 pm and can be reached at (212) 580-4090; or, shop online at metoperashop.org.