Mixed feelings, and general malaise, about the new Met season (Or: Where is Jonas? John Relyea? Stefan? Rene?)

Speaking of “malaise,” the overworked pace of 2018 kept me on a restricted opera regimen–and, actually, a restricted regimen of any life outside of work!–and I regretted having missed most of the Met’s HDs and radio broadcasts and many of the other broadcasts I would love to have seen and heard. (I’ve generally been MIA from my favorite opera groups online. I miss my dear opera pals so much!) However, things are looking up, and on this restful Sunday morning I’ve been spending time reviewing the recent announcements on the Met’s 2019-2020 season, both on stage (radio, for me!) and cinema.

Overall, nothing stands out in the way that La Fanciulla del West did this past season, with the return not only of this too-little-performed Puccini opera, but of Jonas Kaufmann. Nor have any of my long-term hopes been realized: another big HD role for John Relyea and Štefan Kocán–both of whom are notably absent from any Met performances in the coming season; nor my perhaps quixotic hope that the Met will one day put on a gloriously heartbreaking production of Don Quichotte with Ferruccio Furlanetto, capturing this iconic role in HD for the ages; nor yet the promised all-star Don Carlos in the 5-act French version. Nor do I see anything with King René Pape.

On a few underwhelming notes, what we do have are some of the standby, albeit beautiful Zeffirelli productions–La Bohème, Turandot. (Frankly, I was hoping that they wouldn’t HD the latter again until Jonas Kaufmann finally sings Calaf.) We have an Anna Netrebko feast, with her special concert, as well as the reprisal of her Lady Macbeth and Tosca roles. But we also have Marco Berti back, and Aleksandrs Antonenko.

But I’d rather stick to a few more exciting, positive highlights:

  1. To hear the great Luca Pisaroni‘s Guglielmo and Gerald Finley‘s Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte, although not an HD of the season, alas.
  2. The return of Sir Bryn Terfel, in Der Fliegende Holländer, conducted by Valery Gergiev in a new production.
  3. Stars such as Elīna Garanča, Bryan Hymel, and Ildar Abdrazakov in Berlioz’s Faust.
  4. Morris Robinson’s Sarastro, although the shorter, English Magic Flute.
  5. Diana Damrau and Jamie Barton in Maria Stuarda.
  6. Angel Blue and Eric Owens in Porgy and Bess.
  7. Luca Pisaroni again, as Figaro in the Nov/Dec Nozze.
  8. Luca Salsi as Germont in Feb/March La Traviata–though I’m not overall a huge fan of the opera–and Quinn Kelsey in the Jan/early-Feb performances.
  9. Kate Lindsey and Joyce DiDonato in Agrippina.

Other intriguing cast members: Peter Mattei and Tamara Mumford (Wozzeck); Roberto in Bohème; roles with Matthew Polenzani, Javier Camarena, and the great Željko Lučić.

I decided to write this after being informed about the announcement by my dear opera pal Gaby, but before getting back on my beloved opera groups, and I’m intrigued to hear others’ reactions. Similarly underwhelmed? Or perhaps intrigued and inspired? I’d like it to be contagious, if the latter.

In any case, here’s to a new season–not to mention, grateful for a lineup of fantastic performers–and, hopefully, pleasant surprises.

5 thoughts on “Mixed feelings, and general malaise, about the new Met season (Or: Where is Jonas? John Relyea? Stefan? Rene?)

  1. I wish the Met revived their gorgeous Billy Budd production and put it in HD (which would also be an excellent way to feature Relyea, man, he is amazing as Claggart).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my gosh, yes!!! I agree totally that they should revive Billy Budd…but I confess that is an opera I’ve not yet seen, and it has been on my to-watch list. Are there any versions available to watch with John Relyea, do you know? ❤


  3. I loved reading your new wonderful post dear mio fratello!!!! I am so happy that you are back to your blog!!! I missed you so much and many of us miss you so much in the Opera groups!!!I agree 100% with all what you expressed!!! I will miss Stefan, John Relyea and King Rene Pape so much!!!! (The Met without them, is not the Met ) and I also think the same, I was also hoping for Jonas to be Calaf in the Zeffirelli Met Turandot. I am excited about Luca and Gerald in Cosi fan tutte, Diana Damrau and Jamie Barton in Maria Stuarda, Joyce DiDonato and Kate Lindsey in Agrippina, Eric Owens and Angel Blue in Porgy and Bess, Luca again in Le Nozze di Figaro (and also Mariusz as Count Almaviva but I hope that Mariusz doesn’t cancel in the last minute! ) and Ildar, Bryan Hymel and Elina in La Damnation de Faust. La Boheme is the anti-Madama Butterfly for me, having La Boheme, specially close to Christmas time is a wonderful tradition that I love from the Met (I wish that they had it again as an HD either with Matthew or Roberto!)I am so happy that you are back mio fratello and I loved your new post so much!!! Oh my by the way, speaking about John Relyea, Billy Budd with John Relyea as Claggart, in a production from Norway is available on OperaVision until August 7!!!!!! I haven’t seen this production yet, Blake said that he loved the performances but that he didn’t like the production. Wonderful post dear mio fratello and I am so happy that you back!!! Here is the link for the Billy Budd with John Relyea! (I still haven’t seen it yet ) https://operavision.eu/en/library/performances/operas/billy-budd

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my gosh mio fratello!!! THANK YOU for that link to John Relyea in Billy Budd!!!!! 😍😍😍💛💛💛 I didn’t think there would be any recordings available!!!!! Wow!!! Good to know that Blake wasn’t a fan of the production, but loved the performances, so it sounds like it will be well worth it in any case. And thank you so much for your wonderful comments! Fingers crossed for the Christmas tradition, and that Mariusz doesn’t cancel!!

      Liked by 1 person

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