What's on at the Met: 2016/17

What's on at the Met: 2016/17

Jenna Simeonov

Well, The Metropolitan Opera has announced its season line-up for 201617, and for the most part, the repertoire seems, to use an -ism from a fellow blogger, quite the “steak dinner”.

There are a few exciting surprises, though. First and foremost, Kaija Saariaho’s L’amour de loin will hit the stage in December 2016, marking the Met’s first opera by a woman since 1903. Delightfully, maestra Susanna Mälkki makes her Met debut on the podium for this new production by Robert Lepage. The casting is interesting to me; Eric Owens is Jaufé Rudel, Susanna Phillips is Clémence, and Tamara Mumford is Pélérin (The Pilgrim). Owens and Phillips aren’t known for their contemporary work, but my curiosity is officially piqued.

With the rest of the season playing it safe (the Met’s standby productions of La bohème, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Vegas Rigoletto and The Magic Flute all make a comeback), at least there are some exciting artists getting stage time. South African soprano Pretty Yende sings Rosina in Barbiere and performances of Juliette in Roméo et Juliette, Gerald Finley takes the title role in Guillaume Tell, and Alice Coote will sing Idamante in Idomeneo. A bit of a surprise is Plácido Domingo, who not only conducts Don Giovanni, but sings a few performances of Giorgio Germont in La traviata (we’ve written about this whole deal before).

Plus, Canadians will get excited about Adrianne Pieczonka’s Leonore in Fidelio, and COC Music Director Johannes Debus conducting Salome.

Veteran Met performers like Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Patricia Racette, Rolando Villazón, Simon Keenlyside, Michael Fabiano, Isabel Leonard, and maestro Plácido Domingo are popping up all over the season, reprising signature roles (like Mariusz Kwiecień in Don Giovanni and Renée Fleming in Der Rosenkavalier) and new steps forward (like Diana Damrau in Roméo et Juliette).

The 201516 season left me with a similar feeling of being let down by the Met. To be fair, they’re at once a giant opera company and a tourist attraction, so the exhaustive repeats of some productions are understandable if they consistently attract audiences.

Saariaho’s L’amour de loin is an exciting step for the Met; it’s a bit disappointing though, that the runners-up for contemporary opera are Alfano’s Cyrano de Bergerac and Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier.

To peruse the full details of the Met’s 201617 season, click here.

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