The Met is staging Georges Bizet's The Pearl Fishers (Les Pecheurs des Perles) for the first time in approximately a century. The cast includes Diana Damrau, Matthew Polenzani, Mariusz Kwiecien, and Nicolas Teste.
That's a hell of a strong cast, and quite frankly, it is wasted on Pearl Fishers. I should know; I've seen it, and it is a work best presented as a ten-minute good-parts version, along with Ambroise Thomas's Hamlet and a few other works of that ilk.
Really, when a work drops from your company's repertory for a century, it's a good idea to think about why. It might be a forgotten or neglected masterpiece, or maybe it's just not very good. It's the latter where Pearl Fishers is concerned. It has one good aria, for Leila, one good tenor aria, and one beautiful and famous duet, a typical male-bonding duet.
The opera also has huge cultural-exoticism issues; here's a review of the first bring-up of the production at ENO that discusses this.
So, here's the Met, with a fine group of singers and conductor Gianandrea Noseda. What could they have staged instead?
Well, those four would make a good group in any number of mid-19th century works, but I would have sprung for King Roger, considering that just now Mariusz Kwiecien owns the title role. Polenzani showed more charisma in Tales of Hoffman in SF a few years back than I would have expected and he has a glorious voice, certainly better than that of Saimir Pirgu, who sang the Shepherd in London recently. Damrau might be able to manage Roxana, and there must be something for Teste to do.
Oh, well. Repertory choices, wish I were making them for the Met.