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Met 2013-2014 Season Analysis Part 2: What to Expect from November to mid-January

I had Part 1 earlier this week, and I’m back now with the second session of Met Season Predictions. Let’s pick up where we left off in mid-November.

Rigoletto: The Met’s neon Rigoletto returns for another season since its first presentation last season. Dimiri Hvorostovsky sings Rigoletto opposite Aleksandra Kurzak’s Gilda. Kurzak recently announced her pregnancy, so whether she will still sing Gilda is still up in the air. Matthew Polenzani, a ringing and exciting tenor in his own right, sings the ringing and exciting part of the Duke. Pablo Heras-Casados conducts.

Der Rosenkavalier: I have long waited to hear Elina Garanca live. She was one of the first singers that I got really hooked on, and at the strong suggestion of some friends, I bought a ticket to see her Octavian, one of her supposed best roles. Two days later, she announces her pregnancy and that she wouldn’t be singing pants roles anymore. I was pretty disappointed. For the first three performances she was replaced with Alice Coote, which did little to lift my spirits. The rest of the Octavians are sung by Daniela Sidram. Martina Serafin, who made a positive debut as Sieglinde last season (Who I’ve found to be an exciting, but vocally generic singer) sings the Marschallin (A large departure from the Renee Fleming and Kiri te Kanawa style the Met was used to). The insistently irritating Mojca Erdmann is Sophie. However, I’ve only heard Erdmann in Mozart, so this will display an alternate side of her. Erin Morley sings Sophie in one performance, and trust me, this is a singer you will not want to miss. She stole the show as Constance in Dialogues last season. That classic Robert O’Hearn production returns (It’s the oldest production in use at the Met) with Peter Rose is Baron Ochs, and Edward Gardner conducts.

Falstaff: Verdi’s only successful comedy comes to the Met in the first new production since 1964 (We’re talking Old Met, here, people.) The cast for this opera is probably the best you could assemble these days. The indomitable Ambrogio Maestri who was the ideal Falstaff on the Zurich Opera DVD brings his portrayal to the Met. Lyric-coloratura, Angela Meade is Alice Ford, and Stephanie Blythe will be a fantastic Ms. Quickly. Lisette Oropesa, a singer who I’ve hoped would sing the part for a long time, sings Ninetta. Paolo Fanale, who I’ve never heard of, is Fenton. James Levine conducts one of his signature operas in a new(ish) production, by Robert Carsen, that has played in just about every major opera house of the world. A full video can be seen below:

The Magic Flute: The Met’s annual “family presentation” this year is another revival of Julie Taymor’s Magic Flute. Besides Nathan Gunn as Papageno, Eric Owens as Sarastro, and Alek Shrader as Tamino, I haven’t heard of the rest of the cast (Albina Shagimuratova and Heidi Stober as the Queen of the Night and Pamina). If you read this blog and you’re considering taking your family to an opera, please skip the “family presentation” and take them to an uncut, standard repertoire piece. The method to my madness is here. Jane Glover conducts.

Die Fledermaus: That fun, frothy, New-Year’s operetta is the New Year’s Eve Gala of choice this season (Mildly more appropriate then Maria Stuarda, right?) and it comes in a new production by Jeremy Sams. Sams is also writing an English libretto, with new dialogue by Douglas Carter Beane. Susanna Philips sings Rosalinde and Christopher Maltman is Eisenstein. Christine Schafer (The only singer you know who does Violetta and Cherubino) is the maid, Adele. In a part usually given to a mezzo, rising countertenor, Anthony Roth Costanzo sings Prince Orlofsky. The production has the opera set in turn-of-the-century Vienna, with elements from all of the artistic movements present at the time. It looks interesting, actually. Adam Fischer conducts. Check out this video below of a friend singing “Adele’s Laughing Song”!

L’Elisir d’Amore: Bart Sher’s blah production returns with Anna Netrebko who really shouldn’t be singing this stuff anymore. Her voice is just too mature and rich to be wasted on these soubrette roles. Ramon Vargas, a solid Meteran (Anyone whose sung at the met for over ten years. It’s my word. I made it up. You should use it.) is Nemorino opposite Netrebko’s Adina. Nicola Alaimo is Belcore and Dulcamara is Erwin Schrott (Mr. Netrebko, but I’ve heard rumors that they’re separated). Maurizio Benini, bel-canto specialist, conducts.

La Boheme: The perennial Zeffirelli production comes back with a fascinating lineup of artists. Maija Kovalevska, Anita Hartig (Who sang the part to acclaim in London) and Barbara Frittoli are the Mimis. Joseph Calleja and Vittorio Grigolo (Possibly my least favorite tenor. The voice is so thin and metallic, in my opinion.) are the Rodolfi. Musetta duties are shared between Susanna Philips and Met debutants, Irina Lungu and Jennifer Rowley. Personally, I can’t wait to hear Rowley’s Musetta. She’s sung the piece all over the world, and I’ve gotten to know her through Twitter. It is a highly anticipated Met debut. Stefano Ranzani conducts the entire run.

Madama Butterfly: Of all the Puccini operas at the Met this season, the Butterflies are by far the most luxuriously cast. The Butterfly/Pinkerton pairings are: Amanda Echalaz/Bryan Hymel, Kristine Opolais(Who made a significant debut in La Rondine last season)/James Valenti, and Hui He/Gwyn Hughes Jones. It’s hard to go wrong with any of the casts. I already have tickets for an Opolais Butterfly, but I’d like to see one of the performances with Hymel as well. Dwayne Croft and Scott Hendrix share the run as Sharpless. Philippe Augin and Marco Armiliato share conducting duties.

Stay tuned for Parts 3 and 4 which WILL come tomorrow and Sunday!

All photos courtesy of Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

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5 comments on “Met 2013-2014 Season Analysis Part 2: What to Expect from November to mid-January

  1. In this bunch, I would totally go for Falstaff and Fledermaus, the latter an opera (OK, an operetta) I love beyond reason. Not so sure about the countertenor bit, though. I also hope the entire thing is in English, not just the dialogue. The Met’s last production was that English-German hybrid that just struck me as weird – although not half as weird as the Fidelio I saw not long ago with English dialogue and sung German. Act 2 scene 1 came off as beyond bizarre done this way with the English ‘melodrama.’
    And I’m through, hah!

  2. Hope you’ll enjoy Der Rosenkavalier anyway!

  3. Thanks for the analysis and appraisals…you and I have similar tastes in singers. I so appreciate your insights. I’ve never gotten the appeal of Grigolo for precisely the same reason! I do admire Calleja — that’d be the one to see…

    Looking forward to the rest of your commentary on the upcoming season.

  4. I wouldn’t really call Adina a soubrette role…..Giannetta certainly is, but Adina is more coloratura-heavy.

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