Dull MetHD line up

The Metropolitan Opera has announced the line up of HD broadcasts for 2013/14.  My first observation is that there are only ten versus twelve last year (and even more some years if I recall correctly).  Is the gloss coming off this initiative?

Frankly, too, it looks pretty dull unless one’s taste is for starry casts in unchallenging productions.  My comments follow each listing.

Here’s the full season; lots of details and puffery at the Met website:

Eugene Onegin – Tchaikovsky – October 5, 2013 at 12:55 p.m. ET

New Production – (c)Valery Gergiev (d)Deborah Warner

Cast: Mariusz Kwiecien (Eugene Onegin), Anna Netrebko (Tatiana), Oksana Volkova (Olga), Piotr Beczala (Lenski), Alexei Tanovitsky (Gremin)

Just can’t get excited about this.

The Nose – Shostakovich – October 26, 2013 at 12:55 p.m. ET

(c) Pavel Smelkov (d) William Kentridge

Cast: Paulo Szot (Kovalyov), Andrey Popov (Police Inspector), Alexander Lewis (The Nose)

At last!  The only piece of the season that’s not utterly mainstream or 19th century Romantic.  I’ll be seeing this for sure.

Tosca – Puccini – November 9, 2013 at 12:55 p.m. ET

(c) Riccardo Frizza (d)Luc Bondy

Cast: Patricia Racette (Tosca), Roberto Alagna (Cavaradossi), George Gagnidze (Scarpia), John Del Carlo (Sacristan)

It’s like 5 minutes since they last HD’d this production.  Why bother?

Falstaff – Giuseppe Verdi – December 14, 2013 at 12:55 p.m. ET

New Production (c)James Levine (d)Robert Carsen

Cast: Ambrogio Maestri (Falstaff), Lisette Oropesa (Nannetta), Angela Meade (Alice Ford), Stephanie Blythe (Mistress Quickly), Jennifer Johnson Cano (Meg Page), Paolo Fanale (Fenton), Franco Vassallo (Ford)

This is the ROH production which is probably heading for Toronto anyway.  I probably won’t bother.

Rusalka – Dvořák – February 8, 2014 at 12:55 p.m. ET

(c)Yannick Nézet-Séguin (d)Otto Schenk

Cast: Renée Fleming (Rusalka), Emily Magee (Foreign Princess), Dolora Zajick (Ježibaba), Piotr Beczala (Prince), John Relyea (Water Sprite)

Schenk?  Are you kidding me it’s 2014 already!

Prince Igor – Alexander Borodin – March 1, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. ET

New Production (c)Gianandrea Noseda (d)Dmitri Tcherniakov

Cast: Ildar Abdrazakov (Prince Igor Svyatoslavich), Oksana Dyka (Yaroslavna), Anita Rachvelishvili (Konchakovna), Sergey Semishkur (Vladimir Igorevich), Mikhail Petrenko (Prince Galitsky), Štefan Kocán (Khan Konchak)

Tcherniakov in a big Russian epic could be very interesting.  One to catch I think.

Werther – Jules Massenet – March 15, 2014 at 12:55 p.m. ET

New Production (c)Alain Altinoglu (d)Richard Eyre

Cast: Jonas Kaufmann (Werther), Lisette Oropesa (Sophie), Elīna Garanča (Charlotte), David Bižić (Albert), Jonathan Summers (Le Bailli)

One for Massenet or JK completists I think.  I’ll skip.

La Bohème – Puccini – April 5, 2014 at 12:55 p.m. ET

(c)Stefano Ranzani (d)Franco Zeffirelli

Cast: Anita Hartig (Mimì), Susanna Phillips (Musetta), Vittorio Grigolo (Rodolfo), Massimo Cavalletti (Marcello), Patrick Carfizzi (Schaunard), Oren Gradus (Colline), Donald Maxwell (Benoit/Alcindoro)


 Così fan tutte – Mozart – April 26, 2014 at 12:55 p.m. ET

(c)James Levine (d)Lesley Koenig

Cast: Susanna Phillips (Fiordiligi), Isabel Leonard (Dorabella), Danielle de Niese (Despina), Matthew Polenzani (Ferrando), Rodion Pogossov (Guglielmo), Maurizio Muraro (Don Alfonso)

OK I’m a sucker for Mozart, even when conducted by Levine.  I like the casting.  It worries me that the Met puffery describes the production as “sleek”.  A maybe

 La Cenerentola – Rossini – May 10, 2014 at 12:55 p.m. ET

(c)Fabio Luisi (d)Cesare Lievi

Cast: Joyce DiDonato (Angelina), Juan Diego Flórez (Don Ramiro), Pietro Spagnoli (Dandini), Alessandro Corbelli (Don Magnifico), Luca Pisaroni (Alidoro)

The cast is wonderful but I can’t get excited about a conventional Cenerentola.

So for me it sums up as follows:

Must see: The Nose, Prince Igor

Maybe: Cosi, Eugene Onegin, Falstaff

Probably not: Tosca, Werther, Rusalka, La Boheme, Falstaff

It seems my goal of reducing the number of cinema broadcasts in favour of more live performances is being further furthered.

7 thoughts on “Dull MetHD line up

  1. I’m very surprised about the Tosca, Cenerentola and Boheme HDs given how recently these exact same productions were shown in HD. They must really feel they can draw big audiences to these two warhorses! I’m with you on most of your list, but will add in the Werther as it’s an opera I like and actually have only ever seen it live once (long ago at the COC…barely remember!) The Cosi cast looks good though it’s not my favourite opera, and we’ll have the pleasure of seeing it live here in TO next season in what will probably be a much more interesting production. Still surprised the MET is changing their Onegin production so soon. The Carsen production only ran twice I think, and although booed initially I think everyone came round to in the Fleming/Hvorovstovsky edition. I can tell you, of all the MET HD DVDs out there, it was the biggest seller at the COC’s Opera Shop, and still continues to sell well. It’s a classic, beautiful production and probably the most I’ve enjoyed Fleming in a role. But next year’s line up really looks conservative and belt-tightening to me. Interesting to note Gelb’s comments in this NYT article:
    http://preview.tinyurl.com/c635zkr in which he actually attributes some of the dip in box office revenue of last season to “cannibalization” of the MET audience by the transmissions. And yet they keep pumping them out…

    • I think the Carsen Onegin may be the best Met production I’ve seen. Amazed that they are dropping it, especially when one looks at some of the stuff that runs for ever.
      I knew you would want to see the Werther. You and a gazillion squealing JK fangirls and boys!

      • Add me to the fanboy list. (for EG too) I don’t quite share your ennui, as I don’t get nearly as much live opera exposure. Of course I am sure the Puccinis are for the $$$. I mean we may be totally over that Boheme, but a lot of folks still haven’t seen it.

        I admit I’m more attracted by the singers than the songs this year. But only two of the screenings hold absolutely zero interest for me. I’d love to see Wozzeck and Arabella, but when you think about it.. Many marginal opera fans who would love Boheme would say Arabella who? and just run away fast from Wozzeck! I ‘m not saying they’re right, I’m just sayin’

  2. A season of potboilers with stars. This is a poor year for hd. The Met has fallen asleep in providing us with sleepy productions, plus who will want to see Live From the Met in May. However much we love Didonato.

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