Friday, February 17, 2017

Metropolitan Opera 2017-18

Once again, shamelessly stealing from Opera Tattler:

September 25- December 16 2017: Norma
September 26- October 28 2017: Les Contes d’Hoffmann
September 27- October 14 2017: Die Zauberflöte
October 2 2017- March 10 2018: La Bohème
October 12 2017- April 5 2018: Turandot
October 26- November 21 2017: The Exterminating Angel
November 2 2017- March 16 2018: Madama Butterfly
November 11- December 2 2017: Thaïs 
November 24- December 2 2017: Verdi's Requiem
November 25- December 9 2017 The Magic Flute 
December 6 2017- January 19 2018: Le Nozze di Figaro 
December 14 2017- January 11 2018: The Merry Widow
December 18 2017- January 6 2018: Hansel and Gretel 
December 31 2017- May 12 2018: Tosca
January 8- February 1 2018: Cavalleria Rusticana & Pagliacci
January 16- February 17 2018: L'Elisir d'Amore
January 22- February 15 2018: Il Trovatore
February 5-27 2018: Parsifal 
February 19- March 17 2018 Semiramide
March 1-23 2018: Elektra 
March 15- April 19 2018: Così fan tutte
March 22- May 10 2018: Lucia di Lammermoor
March 29- April 21 2018: Luisa Miller 
April 12- May 11 2018: Cendrillon
April 23- May 12 2018: Roméo et Juliette

Um....wow. There are 26 operas. With the exception of Thomas Adès's latest, The Exterminating Angel, which has its Met and US premiere, they are all by dead white men. Adès's, of course, is by  a living white man.

His opera is also the only opera written after 1925. Way to go, Met! That's about as safe and dull a season as is possible. If I had 26 operas to schedule, I would take more chances. Yes, there is some excellent casting and there are some great singers (Mattei, Goerke, Vogt, etc.). The Met Orchestra concerts aren't listed above, but MGT will conduct one of them. (That is a surprise; I would expect them all to go to Levine.)

If I lived in NY, I would see Exterminating Angel, Elektra, Parsifal, Semiramide, Cendrillon, and Romeo, largely because I've never seen the last three. Oh, and maybe Thais, ditto.


Cameron Kelsall said...

The season, on a whole, verges on the reactionary. I think I'll pick up tickets for Exterminating Angel, Parsifal, Trovatore (mostly for Rachvelischvli's Azucena), and the Requiem. I would like to hear Christiane Karg's Susanna in Nozze, but I'm not dying to sit through the Eyre production again. Likewise, I'm a Martina Serafin fan and her U.S. appearances are fairly rare, but I feel like I've heard a lot of Turandot lately. We already know that Goerke is a fabulous Elektra, but some of the other casting decisions in that revival leave me scratching my head.

Lisa Hirsch said...

I haven't seen Turandot in a few years, and in SF, where we've got both Serafin and Stemma in the title role and three Lius, I will be seeing it....too many times.

Elektra: "In March, Nézet-Séguin returns to the Met to conduct Elektra starring Christine Goerke in the title role, with Elza van den Heever as Chrysothemis, Michaela Schuster as Klytämnestra, Jay Hunter Morris as Aegisth, and Mikhail Petrenko as Orest."

I was surprised to see Jay HM in there, given the length of the role and the fact that he is not superannuated. I am wondering whether he is covering a bigger or more important role around then. Schuster I know only on DVD, from that Thielemann Parsifal, where apparently she is good.

Van den Heever, hmmm.

Cameron Kelsall said...

Petrenko is a nothing-burger of a singer, too. Those who will be able to hear him (the first three rows, if that) will hear a voice that sounds 85. Would much rather have heard Pape or Reuter, who have done this production already, or even Owens again. I don't know Schuster at all, but I was really hoping the Doris Soffel rumors were true, so it still feels like a letdown. Van den Heever is really questionable too.

It seems plausible that JHM might be covering Parsifal, no? The dates are not that far apart, and YNS is conducting both.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Ah, yes, Parsifal. That would make sense. Vogt was an incredible Lohengrin in the Neuenfels production in Bayreuth; I wonder how he'll do in the enormous Met.

Van den Heever has a pretty big career in Europe, but....she has not sung with SFO, where she was an Adler fellow, in ten years, since the notorious production where she replaced a singer at the dress rehearsal and there were all sorts of rumors about why that singer had been, apparently, fired. I also can't say I think her voice is particularly distinctive. It does not have the silvery gleam I'd want in a Chrysothemis (Voigt in her prime!).

Mike A. said...

I agree with you that Met's next season is pretty uninspiring. However, I HAVE to see that Parsifal! It has such an amazing cast, at least on paper. I missed it when it was premiered with Jonas K. few years back. I'm pretty excited for Exterminating Angel too. And Thais, which also has awesome cast. There is one Saturday in November that I can do both Exterminating Angel AND Thais, so I aim for that.

I saw that Elektra last year, and really loved it. I don't think I need to see it again with this cast. Like you, I have never seen Semiramide. That's why I'm so excited for my opera trip next week to see Semiramide in Bavarian State Opera with all-star cast (Joyce diDonato, Lawrence Brownlee and Daniella Barcelona). I will also see Barrie Kosky's Prokofiev's "The Fiery Angel" while I'm there. (If you're interested, I'll post my impressions on those after the trip.)

I saw Van der Heever in Maria Stuarda (with Joyce as Maria) at the Met few years ago, and I wasn't too impressed, unfortunately. But again, bel canto is VERY different from Richard Strauss. ;)

Michael Strickland said...

I love Elza van den Heever's voice. Her Ellen Orford in "Peter Grimes" at the SF Symphony a couple of years ago was perfection. As for the "Don Giovanni" where she was thrown into the role of Dona Anna AT THE DRESS REHEARSAL, she was magnificent. The optics of a local black soprano being replaced by a South African white soprano at the last minute were terrible, and a few writers picked up on it with cries of racism, but she had nothing to do with the circumstances. I'm pretty sure it was Gockley who made the decision. In any case, I think she'll be a perfect Chrysothemis.

By the way, Jay Hunter Morris who I also like was sounding a little ragged tonight at the SF Symphony in John Adams' "The Gospel According to the Other Mary." Hope he hasn't done one Siegfried too many.

Chanterelle said...

Certainly a season where casting matters. For me the ones worth seeing on their own are Exterminating Angel, Thaïs, Parsifal, Semiramide, Elektra, Luisa Miller; Cendrillon is delightful but not in a huge house.

Otherwise, it's about hearing specific singers and conductors. I'm a fan of van den Heever and of Goerke, but both can be uneven. Lucia and Figaro have promising casts (Adam Plachetka as Figaro!). Ermonela Jaho (Butterfly) makes crowds weep--I find her voice harsh (true of several of the women making Met debuts) but I'll give her a chance. Angel Blue as Mimi (depending on her Rodolfo). Tara Erraught's Met debut in Hoffmann might be worth a go. Quinn Kelsey as di Luna.

Myrga Gražinytė-Tyla will conduct one of the Met O concerts, so there's that.

Time to accumulate more frequent flier miles!

Lisa Hirsch said...

Mike A., I think that Goerke will present a somewhat different Elektra from Stemme, both vocally and dramatically. That Munich Semiramide looks great, although...I'm not much of a Rossini fan. I'd love to hear what you think of that and Fiery Angel, which we had in SF in the 90s. If you'd like to do them as a guest blog post, email them to me: lhirsch@gmail.com

Van den Heever was excellent in that Grimes, but I still don't love her voice.

I've found Goerke pretty consistent, although it is also true that I've seen her only in a long-ago Fledermaus, and more recently Frau and Troyens (2 performances of the LOC run). Angel Blue is terrific; she was in Porgy in SF the last time they did it. Gorgeous voice, lots of spin and brilliance.

Darrick Chen said...


How disappointing the NA Opera Companies 17/18 seasons have been - I assume the programming is driven by need to fill seats. I can't help but notice that the Met schedules only 1 Wagner opera a season. For a company that offers 25-30 operas/season, it's disappointing. Especially as we seem to be in a golden age of Wagnerian voices.

I would like to go to NYC for my first trip to the Met - I've wanted to go for years, but might actually do it in 2017 Fall or 2018 Spring. I noticed that hotels around the Met is limited. I was thinking I could fly in, visit a few tourist attractions and go to two performances. My other must see in NYC is the Cloisters museum. Since it's rather far from Manhattan, I think I'll hire a car to take and pick me up - my one splurge.

I guess my question is, does it matter to stay in a hotel near Lincoln Center or is taking a taxi to and from your hotel not a problem? On my recent trip to Chicago, I found taxis to be easy to arrange to and from the Civic Opera House.

I personally think our Elektra is better cast than the Met and I am looking forward to the Ring in the summer. Some of my favorites are singing...really looking forward to Evelyn H. I've heard so many good things about her. Wish SFO could have her share the Elektra with Goerke; that would require me to attend both performances.

Happy New Year!

Lisa Hirsch said...

Hi, Darrick!

Public transit in NYC is excellent and there are lots of cabs available as well. You could stay near the Met, but you could stay almost anywhere within a five-mile radius and have no problem getting there. Check the subway lines that run through the Lincoln Center area, and stay on one of those.

Ahem, The Cloisters museum is in Inwood, which is on the island of Manhattan. :) You get there on the A train. It's admittedly 45 minutes plus a walk from midtown Manhattan. But definitely go, it's absolutely wonderful.

I mostly walked or took the L when I was in Chicago for Troyens in the fall, but I was in River North, about a half-hour walk to the opera house.

I'll be very curious what everyone thinks of Evelyn H as Brunnhilde.

Chanterelle said...

Derrick: NYC hotels are insanely expensive, but you might consider the Y (63rd St) or even AirBnB (though check transit maps carefully before committing to an outer borough rental). Even with Uber, I think most people rely on public transportation. Again, study the transit maps and consider downloading an app, especially if you plan to be here on a weekend, when construction often disrupts routes and schedules.

Back on topic: I heard Angel Blue's Third Norn in Frankfurt maybe 6 years ago; she was promising but the musicianship seemed underdeveloped. I may have heard her since without retaining an impression.

Van den Heever was sensational as Ariadne, also about 6 years ago, but Bordeaux is tiny. Her 2013 Frankfurt Vespri was fierce but rough. Her Carnegie recital was so-so, but she was pretty sick. Still, I find it an exciting voice.

I just heard Goerke's Brunnhilde in Toronto over the weekend. The voice sounded thin on top, right where I want to hear blazing sound, but she still brings vocal power plus warmth and nuance to the character. (Ain Anger's Hagen stole the show IMO)

Herlitzius is a singer I don't "get" -- she does crazy very well, but the voice is too harsh for me. Her recent Ortrud worked, but I wouldn't travel to hear her Brunnhilde.

Taste in singers is so personal!

Chanterelle said...

Important PSA: the Munich Semiramide will be streamed live this Sunday 26 Feb from the Bayerische Staatsoper beginning at 6 pm CET. With Joyce DiDonato in Munich and Elisabeth De Shong in NY, it will be worth breaking my bel canto moratorium to hear them both.

BTW, KF Vogt made his Met debut as the cover Lohengrin perhaps 10 years ago and caused quite a sensation. The voice is so focussed that the Met posed no problems IIRC. While not my favorite Wagner tenor he's hands down my favorite Lohengrin--just right for the character.

Lisa Hirsch said...

It'd be interesting to have van den Heever back in SF for something. We'll see what happens under new GD Matthew Shilvock, both singer- and repertory-wise.

I think that Goerke's transition to the dramatic soprano rep took away some of her top register, although others reported good high notes. I'll see her Bruennhilde somewhere, probably Chicago because I do not want to be around if La Machine injures a singer.

We've got Andrea Silvestrelli again as Hagen, and he was very good in 2011, but Anger would be great to have in that role.

We are on the same page about Herlitzius and Vogt. He was an amazing Lohengrin, pretty much exactly what I think the role needs (and in the amazing Neuenfels production!). Herlitzius was not my idea of an Isolde.