Mar 5, 2008

2008-09 at the Met

The 125th season at the Met will open on Sept.22, 2008 with a gala performance from Renée Fleming (extracts from Massenet's Manon, La Traviata and Strauss' Capriccio) and will feature 6 new productions (including the Met premiere of John Adams' Doctor Atomic).

Amongst the new productions, Berlioz's La damnation de Faust is an interesting attempt to make this opera available to everyone. This Robert Lepage's production was first created for the Saito Kinen Festival in Matsumoto (Japan) in september 1999 and already traveled to Paris (Opéra Bastille in 2001 and 2004) and Bruxelles (Théâtre de la Monnaie, 2002).

Massenet's Thaïs should be a great opportunity for Renée Fleming to shine.

Another new production will be Puccini's La Rondine, by future Paris Opera director Nicolas Joël, with Duane Schuler as lightning designer (a very recurrent artist here in Lyon). Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna are supposed to share the stage. I hope Peter Gelb has already thought of alternative names for when they cancel (say, three days before the premiere).

David McVicar's new production of Il Trovatore should have New Yorkers all excited, although the cast seems a little weak (except for Dmitri Hvorostovsky of course).

Finally, last but not least, a new production of Bellini's La Sonnambula will feature the well-known couple Natalie Dessay/Evelino Pidó (who performed this piece in Lyon in Nov.2006, my reviews in French here and there, with a recording by Virgin Classics) with the notable addition of Juan Diego Flórez, in the Ricordi edition recently rediscovered.

The oldies are back with Zeffirelli's production of La Bohème and Cavalleria Rusticana (Roberto Alagna and José Cura will share the role of Turiddu, with Andrea Gruber as Santuzza, a much better cast than last year's performers) and Pagliacci (Alagna/Cura as well as Canio), and finally with La Traviata (enough with Zeffirelli already).

Interesting cast in Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore (Gheorghiu, Villazón/Calleja, Terfel), Eugene Onegin (Mattila, Hampson).

Finally, I want to point out the return of fantastic Ewa Podles as La Cieca in Poncielli's La Gioconda (dream cast indeed with Deborah Voigt as Gioconda, Aquiles Machado as Enzo and Olga Borodina as Laura).

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