Today Met Opera general manager Peter Gelb announced several new measures that will hopefully spurn increased interest in opera among younger audience members. “As I’ve been saying for years, opera is theater,” Gelb began. “But who goes to the theater anymore? Apparently not enough people. So we’re trying a new project next season: Opera is TV!”
Replacing the slate of internationally renowned opera directors (plus Bartlett Sher) will be a variety of familiar figures from the small screen. “TV is in a golden age right now, and I see no reason why we can’t copy, I mean, translate that into our own special medium. OK, so the Met stage is a little bit bigger, but we can always make the proscenium a little smaller! Plus the HD audience, you know.”
The highlight of the offerings, Gelb said, would be the Met debut of Lena Dunham, the creator of HBO’s Girls. She will helm a production of Così fan tutte set in Bushwick. Editorial assistant Ferrando and barista Gugliemo reportedly shed their plaid and disguise themselves as Goldman Sachs analysts. Gelb promised that it would be “really hip!” and the subject of approximately 100,000 blog entries from people who are weirdly offended by younger women directing something.
Other season highlights are said to be the revival of Battlestar Galactica in the form of Die Frau ohne Schatten (featuring Anne Schwanewilms as “the most ass-kicking Kaiserin you have ever seen”) and a new production of Norma inspired by Homeland. The popular favorite, however, will surely be the new Fledermaus directed by Julian Fellowes of Downton Abbey. It is said to be “very shiny and features excellent hats.” In addition, Gelb will be importing Andrei Serban’s Werther production from the Wiener Staatsoper and calling it Mad Men because “some blogger apparently did that already, and she compared Elina Garanca to January Jones too.”
Reports that a new production of Don Pasquale in the style of Two and a Half Men were cancelled at a late stage were neither confirmed nor denied.
In the second half of the press conference, Gelb confirmed the widespread rumors that April 2013 marked the final appearance of Robert Lepage’s Ring Cycle on the Met’s stage. While a 2017 revival was planned, slow ticket sales and the threats of ruinous liability insurance sent “The Machine” packing. Yet Gelb has a solution: he has commissioned German music video director Wolfgang von Regiekopf (reportedly a pseudonym for Spike Jonze, who doesn’t want to accept blame) to stage a new Ring. The new production will take as its centerpiece the human faults that created the Lepage debacle, ending with the Met’s redemption, all without the dangers of utilizing the Machine itself.
While telling the story of the Ring, the cycle will simultaneously survey Gelb’s reign at the Met, all by using sets from previous Met productions. This will reportedly begin in the aestheticized wonderland of Anthony Minghella’s Butterfly, move to the wackily fantastic world of Bartlett Sher (Gelb’s office/Vallhalla), and also include excursions to such locations as the rehearsal room from Mary Zimmerman’s Sonnambula (Nibelheim), Peter Grimes’s hut (Walküre Act 1), Faust’s lab (Siegfried Act 1), that wall of greenery from Attila (Siegfried Act 2), and the airplane in Nixon in China (Götterdämmerung Act 1). One suspects the final scene may involve Gelb’s biggest Wagnerian success to date, Parsifal–though whether that would be a happy ending remains to be seen.
Met announces new initiatives
Met announces new initiatives