As one examines the Metropolitan Opera's schedule for the 2006-2007 season as the company gets ready to begin general sales for its inaugural year headed by the new management of Peter Gelb, one can't help but notice the dearth of operas by Richard Wagner. Last year there was no quantity either, but there was quality: an amazing Lohengrin (Ben Heppner, Karita Mattila, and René Pape) and an inspiring Parsifal (Ben Heppner, Waltraud Meier, and Thomas Hampson) each of these productions, as you can see, headed by casts that any opera house would kill for.
Although the revival of Die Mistersinger von Nürnberg, which is the only Wagner on the MET's roster for this upcoming season, looks promising (Johan Botha is back as Walter and James Morris is reprising his critically acclaimed Hans Sachs), I personally wish that we would get Tannhäuser back for another season. Last year's revival production with Hampsen as Wolfram was superb.
Also interesting for next season will be that James Levine will be sharing the podium for Meistersinger with John Keenan, a conductor that I don't know anything about. I don't know if this is a result of his health issues and the fact that Meistersinger is a long stretch, or perhaps, more likely, that the Maestro is overextending himself with his responsibilities in Bean Town. There will only be four performances of Meistersinger this season, and the work will be broadcast on Saturday afternoon, March 10 2007. James Levine will be conducting only the first two performances.