The annual announcement of The Metropolitan Opera’s upcoming season is always certain to spur a bit of highbrow cultural reportage among media outlets that go for that sort of thing. Such was the case today when The Met revealed the list of productions being planned for their 2015-16 season. While opera aficionados like myself yearn to visit Lincoln Center in person to catch one of the 25 productions The Met will be staging next season, having ten of these operas brought to us via our local cinemas is just as good, if not at times better, and certainly less expensive.
Once again, The Met will produce the award winning series “The Met: Live in HD“, beaming it out to 2,000 movie theatres in 70 countries around the world. As in previous years, The Met will include all six of its new productions among the ten that will be broadcast via satellite to cinemas. This includes new stagings of Verdi’s “Otello” with tenor Aleksandrs Antonenko on , Berg’s “Lulu” starring soprano Marlis Petersen in one of her signature roles, Bizet’s “Les Pêcheurs de Perles”, Puccini’s “Manon Lescaut” and Strauss’s “Elektra”.
One new production sure be a big draw is Donizetti’s “Roberto Devereux” on April 16, 2016. Not only is the opera being performed for the first time ever by The Met, but it will star renown bel canto soprano Sondra Radvanovsky singing the role of Elizabeth I. This will mark the first time a soprano has attempted to sing all three of Donizetti’s Tudor Queens (including “Anna Bolena” and “Maria Stuarda”) in New York during a single season. Performing Donezetti’s Tudor trilogy so close together is an operatic Triple Crown not achieved on a New York stage since Beverly Sills pulled off the extraordinary feat in the early 1970s.
Verdi’s “Il Trovatore” will kick off the 2015-16 season on October 3rd with the role of Leonora being sung for the first time at The Met by soprano superstar Anna Netrebko. Netrebko is a favorite of The Met’s (and frankly at any opera company in which she performs). She won raves in Verdi’s “Macbeth” last year and has appeared in at least 11 of The Met’s over 90 “Live in HD” productions. Netrebko will return to The Met on February 28, 2016 to make her New York recital debut in a solo show.