Rusalka: It’s sad, but true. Renee Fleming is slowly saying goodbye to the operatic stage. The Met is the house she is very much at home at, and it’s the place where she’s slowly and quietly retiring her most famous roles. She did her final Desdemona in October last year, and this is likely her last outing-at the Met, at least-as Rusalka. It’s one of her signature roles, and it will be sad when the time finally comes for her to put it to bed. The storybook Otto Schenk production returns with the glamorous cast of Piotr Beczala as the Prince, John Relyea as the Water Goblin, Dolora Zajick as Jezibaba, and Emily Magee as the foreign princess. Yannick Nezet-Seguin conducts Dvorák’s score. Renee Fleming sings the Song to the Moon below:
Prince Igor: Prince Igor coming back to the Met for the first time in over 100 years is an occasion to celebrate for a few reasons. 1. For the first time, the Met is bringing in a regietheater director, Dmitri Tcherniakov. 2. The all-Slavic cast is really luxurious. It boasts Ildar Abdrazakov as Igor and Anita Rachelishvili as Konchakovna. In addition to that, Oksana Dyka, a charming Ukranian soprano, makes her debut as Yaroslavna. I’ve followed her career since seeing her live as Tosca at La Scala in 2011. She has sung Puccini heroines around the world. She has a beautiful voice and a compelling stage presence. She’s definitely worth checking out. Giandrea Noseda and Pavel Smelkov conduct.
Werther: If you thought my story about buying tickets to see Elina Garanca two days before she announced her pregnancy was sad, than the fact that she announced her pregnancy a few HOURS after I bought Werther tickets should be even more upsetting. For the first time in ten years, Massenet’s Werther returns to the Met in a new production by Richard Eyre. Eyre’s Carmen was one of the few critically acclaimed productions of Gelb’s tenure, and his Werther looks equally fascinating. As the moody poet, Jonas Kaufmann sings the role for the first time at the Met. I never caught the “Kaufmann” bug the way a lot of people have, but I’m looking forward to his Werther. I’m not a fan of his lyric-tenor roles, but I’m excited to see him transition into more dramatic roles, like Werther or Otello. Garanca’s replacement, Sophie Koch, makes her Met debut. Lisette Oropesa is Sophie, and David Bizic is Albert. Alain Altinonglu conducts.
The Enchanted Island: The Met’s Baroque pastiche returns with many members of the original cast from its premiere two seasons ago. Phelim McDermott’s gorgeous production stars Susan Graham, replacing Joyce DiDonato as Sycorax, David Daniels, Danielle deNiese, and Placido Domingo. Luca Pisaroni returns as the monster, Caliban, and Anthony Roth Costanzo returns as Ferdinand. While this cast looks interesting, it would be impossible to recreate the magic and energy that Joyce DiDonato brought to the original production. Patrick Summers conducts.
Wozzeck: When Deborah Voigt bowed out of the Wasnington National Opera, her candor in an interview with Anne Midgette was as fascinating as it was admirable. She confessed to having real trouble with the dramatic Wagnerian parts that she’s been singing, and that it might be time to take a break. She’s slated to sing Marie in this season’s Wozzeck, which, a friend says, she could still technically pull off. However, it’s unclear whether she might be taking a sabbatical for the time being. Thomas Hampson is Wozzeck and Simon O’Neill is the Drum Major. I don’t know Wozzeck, as an opera, at all, so I’m looking to use this season as a chance to acquaint myself with it. James Levine conducts another one of his signature scores.
That’s all for Part 3! Check back for the final part, Part 4, tomorrow!
Photos courtesy of Ken Howard & Brigitte Lacombe