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.

Advertisements