The Metropolitan Opera announced this week its 2012-2013 lineup. It features exciting new productions, a totally new work, and a a good crop of revivals. Sadly, nowhere in sight, is there a mention of James Levine's name. Fabio Luisi has taken over all of Mr. Levine's duties, although Mr. Levine continues to be the MET's official music director. This will be the first time since he joined the MET in 1971 that Mr. Levine will not be conducting anything at the house.
Once again, Peter Gelb, general manager of the MET, is presenting us with a batch of new productions that will challenge New York's essentially conservative view of opera. Michael Mayer's new Rigoletto places the action in 1960s Las Vegas. Not too surprising a turn if we remember that Mr. Mayer staged Broadway's Spring Awakening a few years ago. The season, however, will open with what promises to be a more crowd-pleasing offering: Bartlett Sher's new take on Gaetano Donizetti's L'Elisir D'Amore starring Anna Netrebko.
In celebration of Giuseppe Verdi's birth bicentennial the 2012-2013 season will be rich in Italian opera. There will be a new production of Un Ballo in Maschera by David Alden, and a new production of Donizetti's Maria Stuarda by David McVicar. the trilogy of Tudor-era works was foreseen by Peter Gelb as the perfect vehicle for Anna Netrebko to sing the three queens. However, Ms. Netrebko has vowed out of Maria Stuarda (and 2013-2014 Roberto Devereux) and Joyce DiDonato is scheduled to sing the title role in Maria Stuarda this year. Director McVicar is scheduled to direct all three works using different production teams. In addition, Mr. McVicar will bring his new modern dress production of Handel's Giulio Cesare, from Glyndebourne starring David Daniels and Natalie Dessay. The other Verdi operas to be presented include Aida, conducted by Fabio Luisi, Don Carlo, led by Lorin Maazel, La Traviata, with Plácido Domingo taking the baritone role of Germont, his second at the house after Simon Boccanegra, and the Verdi celebration will conclude with the MET's current production of Il Trovatore.
The other two new productions are The Tempest, a new work by composer Thomas Adès, in a new production by Robert Lepage (who brought us the current Ring production), and a much-awaited new production of Richard Wagner's Parsifal by François Girard. This production will have its premiere at the Opéra De Lyon in March. Here at the MET, the production will feature Jonas Kaufmann in the title role, and it will be conducted by Daniele Gatti, who has conducted the work for four consecutive summers at the Bayreuth Festival.
The MET will bring back some of its most spectacular production, namely Poulenc's unforgettable Dialogues of the Carmelites and Berlioz's mighty Les Troyens, two works that have not been heard at the house in quite some years. These, together with three rounds of Mr. Lepage's Ring of the Nibelung and a Christmas production of The Barber of Seville promises a very rich opera season. If you would like to browse the season further click here.