Friday, February 24, 2012

The surprises of the 2012-2013 Met season!

Every year when the Met season is announced there are always questionable casting choices, stars missing from the roster and obscure HD and production choices. This year is no exception as the season is loaded with a plethora of surprises. Here are a few.

La Traviata Public dress rehearsal!

Last season the Willy Decker Traviata premiered to outstanding reviews. However there was no dress rehearsal. This year Gelb has opted for a public dress rehearsal of the production which stars Diana Damrau and Placido Domingo. What makes this surprising is that these dress rehearsals are usually reserved for new productions. There are only 3 per year and one of them is a revival of a  production from two seasons ago. The other two rehearsals are Rigoletto and Elisir and Gelb's decision to overlook any of his other new productions or major revials (Les Troyens or Dialogue Des Carmelites) makes this choice a tad bit surprising.

Rigoletto goes to Vegas!
Luc Bondy was originally supposed to direct Rigoletto in a joint production with La Scala and Vienna Festival. Last summer an article was published about rumors stating that the Luc Bondy Rigoletto would be cancelled after disastrous reviews at the Vienna Festival. The news was confirmed yesterday when it was announced that Michael Mayer would direct the production instead of Luc Bondy. Luc Bondy confirmed yesterday that Peter Gelb had given no explanation for the cancellation.  We all know how Bondy's last production ("Tosca") went over with the Met audiences (boos on opening night anyone?). Why is Bondy so unpopular? Because the Met audiences has a tendency toward the conservative operatic directing approach and Bondy doesn't share that taste.

But the surprise here is that Gelb dropped Bondy, for what appears at the moment as more of the same; maybe worse. Why? Because the opera that takes place in Mantua will now take place in LAS VEGAS and Rigoletto owns/works at a casino... The imagery from the video certainly points to over the top imagery reminiscent of European opera of today (Eurotrash in many conservative circles). I personally have my doubts of this ever going well with the Met audience. I figured that if Bondy was to be dropped, it was because they would be going a bit more conservative. The complete opposite has happened. One final note: When was the last time a Met new production completely changed the time period and place RADICALLY in a new production? There aren't many out there, but one particular Bellini opera did not fare so well in it's debut and thereafter. Gelb is gambling here, let's see if he wins big in Vegas.

Aida goes to HD again!
A few years ago the Met transmitted Aida as part of their Live in HD performances. The performance which starred Violetta Urmana was later released on DVD. This year the Met is planning another HD for the beloved work with Robert Alagna and Olga Borodina. The news of this HD transmission is a bit odd because works like Le Nozze di Figaro and Dialogues des Carmelites were left out of the program in favor of this production. Nozze seems to be on its last legs (rumor has it that we will see a new production in 2 season) and has NO DVD release while Carmelites is without DVD also and hasn't been presented on the Met stage in decades. I get the move, Aida equals more money than either of the above operas, but it sure says little for the creative/artistic importance of Live in HD.

The missing stars!
Angela Gheorghiu has never missed a season at the Met... except for when she cancels. For the last two years she did her usual "I don't like the production/I'm not ready to sing this" bit. First with Romeo et Juliet two years ago, then with Faust last year.  Big scandals were made over this but Mr. Gelb assured the world, as did Ms. Gheorgiu, that the diva would be back to the Met. She was rumored for La Rondine, one of her trademark roles, but it turns out... she's not even programmed for this season. Did Mr. Gelb finally stand up to the diva and pull off a Bing/Volpe? Or did the Met/Gheorgiu schedules not match? OR... dare I say Ms. Ghergiou quit because she would not be headlining any new productions and did not simply want to be a part of a small revival? We don't know and may never know, but the storyline is simply intriguing. 

Bryn Terfel headlined the Met's season two years ago, He's singing Leoporello in the new production of Don Giovanni and this spring he sings the complete Ring Cycle. So why isn't he scheduled for next season? No drama here like the above I hope, but still odd that such a Met crowd pleaser will not be in the house all year. 

Joseph Calleja is yet another star that has sung at the Met for the past three years. Whether he was singing in the secondary cast as in this season's Faust or headlining a new production such in L'Contes d'Hoffman two years ago, Calleja has always been in Met General Manager Peter Gelb's plans.  However next season the golden voiced tenor isn't scheduled for any operas.  

Othe notable stars that won't be at the Met include the acclaimed Danielle De Niese, Aleksandrs Antonenko who missed out on this years Tosca, and the beloved Waltraud Meier.
Angela Meade who?
After headlining the Met's Ernani and stepping into the second run of Anna Bolena, Angela Meade will only sing ONE performance at the Met next year. After rave reviews, an HD transmission and a new production the acclaimed soprano is getting the back seat as a cover of Patricia Racette for Il Trovatore. They put so much effort into promoting her in "The Audition," "Ernani," and then they don't give her more than one performance? I'm sure her schedule's busy, but this is the Met, this is the house that has helped her rise to stardom. She should be singing more than one show.

Did we miss anything? Please let us know. 

No comments:

Post a Comment