What to See During the 2018-19 Met Opera SeasonSeptember 28, 2018 - by Griffin Miller, Theatre Editor
The beauty of The Metropolitan Opera’s 2018-2019 calendar is not only that it’s flush with new productions, repertory favorites, and a charmed circle of performers, its new Music Director—Montreal-born Yannick Nézet-Séguin—is assuming his new post two-seasons ahead of schedule.
“I’m eager to continue to collaborate with the Met Orchestra, Chorus, and administration to keep the Met’s artistic standards at the highest level, and to amplify the great work the company already does to reach new audiences and ensure the future of the art form,” said Nézet-Séguin.
Met General Manager Peter Gelb added, “The orchestra loves him, the chorus loves him, everyone in the building loves him. He is a truly great artist under whom the Met will only thrive.”
It will begin thriving as far as Nézet-Séguin’s conducting skills go when he takes the podium on December 4th for Verdi’s La Traviata, directed by Tony winner Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening), who is also directing the season’s second opera, Nico Muhly’s Marnie, based on the Winston Graham novel that served as the basis for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1964 film. Nézet-Séguin also conducts revivals of Sir Jonathan Miller’s production of Pelléas et Mélisande (opening in January) and Dialogues des Carmélites in May.
As for La Traviata, it clocks in as the third of this season’s new productions, the first being Camille Saint-Saëns’s Samson et Dalila, conducted by Sir Mark Elder and directed by Darko Tresnjak—another Tony winner (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder)—in his Met debut. The fourth will be Adriana Lecourvreur by Francesco Cilea, which kicks off its run on December 31st for the Met’s New Year’s Eve Gala.
The balance of 2018 is rich with Met favorites, including the return of Franco Zeffirelli‘s iconic take on Puccini’s La Bohème, helmed by James Gaffigan (another Met debut), and Maestro Nicola Luisotti leading Verdi’s Aida with Anna Netrebko in the title role. (FYI: For later performances, Plácido Domingo will share conducting duties.) On October 25th, Puccini’s Tosca comes to life under the baton of Carlo Rizzi with Sondra Radvanovsky (later in the season Jennifer Rowley) in the title role; on the 30th, Bizet’s Carmen checks in with Clémentine Margaine returning in her signature role as the magnetic temptress.
Boito’s Mefistofele. Winnnie Klotz/Met Opera Archives.
November’s full roster includes Robert Carsen’s production of Mefistofele—composer Arrigo Boito’s only completed opera—which hasn’t been seen at the Met since 2000. It stars Christian Van Horn as Faust’s (Michael Fabiano) demonic enticer. Also worth noting: Pretty Yende as a Hindu princess in the revival of Penny Woolcock’s production of Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de Perles, conducted by Emmanuel Villaume.
Celebrating a 100-year Met anniversary is the Puccini trio of one-act operas Il Trittico, with Domingo singing the title role in Gianni Schicchi.
December sees yet another Met first: Gustavo Dudamel, who will be conducting Verdi’s Otello starring Stuart Skelton, with Sonya Yoncheva reprising her acclaimed Desdemona. Finally, Julie Taymor’s brilliantly whimsical—abridged and in English— take on Mozart’s The Magic Flute has become a holiday tradition, with performances beginning December 19th.
As for the new year, the production line-up continues to dazzle during this truly stellar season. Front and center: Der Ring des Nibelungen, arriving this spring with Philippe Jordan, Music Director of the Paris Opera, leading Wagner’s three-cycle masterwork and starring Christine Goerke as Brünnhilde.
Other highlights of the season include The Met: Live in HD 2018-19, the groundbreaking/award-winning series of live cinema simulcasts shown in movie theaters across the globe. The 13th edition begins October 6th with Aida. Fans can also tap into Met Opera on Demand, the Met’s exclusive streaming service that now boasts an impressive menu of 650 full-length performances. And do look into the Met’s myriad programs and discount packages, making live performances feasible for pretty much everyone.
In honor of Yannick Nézet- Séguin’s appointment, the Neubauer Family Foundation, founding sponsors of Live in HD, made a $15 million gift to name the Music Director position the Jeanette Lerman-Neubauer Music Director. Mrs. Lerman-Neubauer is a member of the Executive Committee of the Met’s Board, while Her husband, Joseph Neubauer, former Chairman and CEO of Aramark, is a well known philanthropist.
After acknowledging Nézet- Séguin’s dedication to the Met’s standards of expression, Mrs. Lerman-Neubauer added, [H]e adds a new kind of energy, making opera a compelling choice for broader and younger audiences. We believe his enthusiasm, energy, and inspired music-making will continue to be a major asset for the Met and will push the boundaries even further for what great opera can achieve.”
For information including synopses, performance dates, and tickets for any of the operas scheduled for the Met’s 2018-19 season, visit metopera.org. To purchase tickets you can also call 212-362-6000. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is located on Manhattan’s
Upper West Side between 62nd and 65th Streets and Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues.