There’s a Met in HD season again with ten shows starting in October. All shows start at 12.55pm New York time. Three out of ten performances are 21st century operas which is as surprising as it is welcome. There are some interesting looking new productions and one or two that fit into a Met formula that doesn’t work for me usually. And there are two remarkably venerable productions that surely are past their sell by date. Here are my thoughts on each:
October 9th 2021 – Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov. Unusually this is the original 1869 version which was rejected by the Marinsky for lacking any substantial female roles. Based on the production stills Stephen Wadsworth’s production looks pretty traditional but it has René Pape in title role which is a huge plus. Sebastian Weigle conducts.
October 23rd 2021 – Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up In My Bones. This is the Met’s first presentation of a work by an African-=American composer and librettist. It’s directed by the same team that did the Met’s far from universally acclaimed Porgy and Bess. It features Angel Blue. Latonia Moore and Will Liverman, who are all fine singers. Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts. It’s a co-pro with LA and Chicago Lyric.
December 4th 2021 – Aucoin’s Eurydice. This is a new Met commission retelling the Orpheus legend from the female POV. I haven’t heard a lot of Matthew Aucoin’s music but what I’ve heard I found interesting. OTOH the production (co pro with LA Opera) is by Mary Zimmermann who hasn’t impressed me in the past. It’s a decent cast and I’m intrigued by the idea of Barry Banks as Hades. Yannick conducts.
January 1st 2022 – Massenet’s Cinderella in a “holiday presentation”. It’s the Pelly production abridged and sung in English. The cast is terrific with Isabel Leonard, Emily D’Angelo, Stephanie Blyth, Jessica Pratt and Laurent Naouri. Emmanuel Villaume conducts. A good bet for taking the kids or grandkids to.
January 29th 2022 – Verdi’s Rigoletto. It’s a new production by Bartlett Sher so expect fussy vacantness. Even Quinn Kelsey in the title role won’t get me anywhere near this. Daniele Rustioni conducts.
March 12th 2022 – Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos. This is not a new production. It’s the ancient and rather dull Moshinsky affair (premiered 1962). It’s a nice cast headed by the really excellent Lise Davidsen and Brenda Rae but… Marek Janowski conducts.
March 26th 2022 – Verdi’s Don Carlos. It’s the five act French version in a new David McVicar production. I rather thought Sir David rather went off the boil when he started working at the Met but his Rusalka (Chicago and COC) impressed me greatly so maybe he’s back on form. It’s a terrific cast and should be an ideal vehicle for Yannick. Tempting.
May 7th 2022 – Puccini’s Turandot. It’s the ancient and overblown Zeffirelli production. The selling point is Netrebko in the title role. Marco Armiliato conducts. Not for me but YMMV.
May 21st 2022 – Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. This is a new production by Australian Simon Stone, about whom I know nothing. It’s a good cast but I really have no idea what to expect. Riccardio Frizza conducts.
June 4th 2022 – Dean’s Hamlet. Saving the best for last? I really admire Brett Dean’s take on Hamlet. It’s dramatically and musically excellent and the cast at the Met is much the same as seen at Glyndebourne with the only major change being Brenda Rae coming in for Barbara Hannigan as Ophelia. The production is neil Armfield’s from Glyndebourne. Nicholas Carter conducts rather than Vladimir Jurowski who conducted the premier. For me, this is a must see.
So, three out of ten performances are 21st century operas which is to be welcomed. There are some interesting looking new productions and one or two that fit into a Met formula that doesn’t work for me usually. And two remarkably venerable productions that surely are past their sell by date.
I shall likely catch Eurydice, Don Carlos and Hamlet. Wild horses wouldn’t drag me to the Turandot, Ariadne or Rigoletto. I’ve seen the Cinderella in full length in French and even the prospect of Emily likely won’t get me out. Not sure about the remaining three.
At this point there’s no word on who, if anyone, might be showing the HDs in Canada or when tickets might go on sale. Tickets go on sale in the US on September 8th.