The Met’s 2016-17 season

Today the Met announced their 2016-17 season. Here is the full press release, here are some highlights. What are you looking forward to?

New Productions

    •  Opening night: Wagner, Tristan und Isolde with Nina Stemme and Stuart Skelton, conducted by Simon Rattle. That Levine is again not conducting an opening night is unsurprising though dismaying. But we haven’t heard much Rattled Wagner in New York so I am intrigued. The director is Mariusz Trelinski, of last season’s very good Iolanta and Bluebeard, and the production is arriving via Baden Baden and Warsaw. I am fairly optimistic about this one. I like Stemme’s Isolde. And René Pape’s Marke, too.


  • Rossini, Guillaume Tell. A Pierre Audi production from Amsterdam (2013). I will totally go to this opera to hear Gerald Finley in the title role again. Marina Rebeka and Bryan Hymel are also involved.
  • Saariaho, L’Amour de loin. The Met’s first performance of an opera by a woman since 1903. Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. As Will Robin said, welcome to the twentieth century, Met. Also, why Robert Lepage again? Production is coming from Québec.
  • Gounod, Roméo et Juliette. This Bart Sher production was not a well-reviewed success in Salzburg back in 2008, but here it is. Damrau, Grigolo.
  • Dvorak, Rusalka. Mary Zimmerman, the Met’s go-to director for magical enchantment? Kristine Opolais sings the title role and I suspect this production is going to be a lot more decorative than when I last saw her in this opera. Major bonus: Jamie Barton as Jezibaba.
  • Strauss, Der Rosenkavalier. Not that k.u.k. Robert Carsen Rosenkavalier, a new and different Robert Carsen Rosenkavalier! Why not get someone who hasn’t already directed this opera? Fleming as the Marschallin, Elina Garanca should sound very, very good as Octavian, and Günther Groissböck is the Ochs of the Future. ROH and Torino co-pro.
  • Gala. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the New Met. It seems like it’s been a few years since they’ve had one of these.

Revival Highlights

  • I will pie chart the season at some point but for now I would like to note that it is somewhat more linguistically diverse than the current season with Salome, more Wagner in Der fliegende Holländer (with Michael Volle and the promising Amber Wagner and conducted by YNS!), Janáček, and Tchaikovsky.
  • I am actually counting Tchaikovsky, Wagner, and Strauss as out of the box choices, which tells you something about the current season.
  • On the bright side, Klaus Florian Vogt is back! He’s singing Florestan in Fidelio, which isn’t really his role, but any Klaus Florian is preferable to no Klaus Florian (why not get him to do the Prince in Rusalka? he’s a good Prince). This is some recompense for another season ohne Kaufmann.
  • Karita Mattila will be an absolutely terrifying Kostelnička in Jenůfa and I mean that in the best possible way.
  • If you are ready to see Manon Lescaut again/can put off seeing Manon Lescaut until next season, you can see Netrebko in it!
  • Those who like me missed Sonya Yoncheva’s first set of Met Violettas will have another chance.
  • Catherine Naglestad sings Salome. Interesting! She is making her Met debut but has had a respectable, eclectic career in Europe. I’ve heard her as Tosca and Siegfried-Brünnhilde, both times in Munich, and both times she was compelling.
  • There still isn’t any baroque opera and the only post-1930 operas are the Saariaho and Cyrano de Bergerac, the latter of which doesn’t really count.
  • A few names to watch: Clémentine Margaine as Carmen, Hanna-Elisabeth Müller as Marzelline, Russell Thomas as Ismaele in Nabucco
  • 16 performances of Don Giovanni?!?!?

The question of James Levine’s involvement remains unanswered, and I wish they would figure this out before all the good candidates tire of waiting. (They already missed the boat on getting Fabio Luisi, who seems to have gotten a pretty poor deal.)

That’s it. I don’t anticipate returning to the Met until Elektra in April but I should have some other subjects well before then!

Photo copyright Kristian Schuller/Met

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  1. You may have seen the pathetic 2016-17 season we have out here in SF: Aida, Don Pasquale, Andrea Chenier, La Boheme, Don Giovanni, Rigoletto, Madame Butterfly (making its tenth appearance in 20 years!), Makropoulos Case, and Dream of the Red Chamber: 7 operas in Italian, one Czech, one English-language premiere….with an all-Asian cast.

    So the Met's season looks like heaven!

    We do get Karita's Kostenicka this June, though, in a season that also includes Bieito's Carmen and a strongly-cast Don Carlo (four-act Italian version).

  2. Tristan and Tell are must sees. I'm sure Luisi will do a fine job with Tell but Noseda practically set Carnegie on fire when he did it a while back. Would normally be very excited about L'amour and Rusalka but OY! the directors. Also think Owens is strange casting for L'amour–the role I believe was created by Dwayne Croft and has been sung a lot by Finley. Couldn't care less about Romeo. As much as I love many of Strauss' operas I've never really warmed up to Rosenkavalier so I will probably wait for when it is on PBS. Am really looking forward to Salome (Operaramblings is very big on Debus). Why Fidelio has been gone for so long is a mystery to me. I would go see it with just about any cast but the return of KFV makes it a must. Jenfua is also a must for Mattila (not mention what a great opera). YNS conducting Wagner with what looks like an interesting cast makes up for trotting out another production that should have been retired years ago. Domingo conducting DG has a certain stopping to look at a train wreck appeal. BTW why a HD broadcast of this awful production of DG and not Tell? I am going to see Manon Lescaut tonight so will probably skip it with Anna next season unless I like the production a lot more than everyone else who has seen it. Bryan

  3. Such a pity they dont show Lohengrin, Klaus Florian has much experience with Lohengrin. And it is a pity, Fidelio isnt among the HD streams. Cant fly to NY :((((

  4. Vogt was an unbelievably great Lohengrin in Bayreuth last year; absolutely perfect match of singer and role, fantastic production, etc. It was rumored at some point that the Met would revive the Wilson Lohengrin, which, boy howdy, I would love to see.

  5. I have the DVD of the Rat Lohengrin and was just astounded by his singing–esp. in the third act. While Florestan may not be the ideal role for him I will crawl through glass on my hands and knees to hear him in it. Bryan

  6. Thanks for all your comments! I've written about KFV as Lohengrin–see the link to his name above for my review.

    #3, I really enjoyed Pappano's conducting of Tell as well. But he and the Met apparently don't get on at all.

    And no, I didn't see Mattila as Jenufa; my Jenufas have been Denoke (auf Deutsch, because Wiener Staatsoper) and Janice Watson. The only Janacek I've seen with Mattila is Makropulos–which was something!

  7. I saw Mattila as Jenufa, in LA, in the same Tombosi production that the Met used and that SFO will have this year. I did not find her quite convincing; she was not sufficiently innocent and idealistic. She will be a great Kostelnicka, I expect. I did love Patricia Racette's Jenufa in the Zambello production, though.

  8. I saw Mattila sing Jenufa opposite Silja at the met in 2007 and thought she was epic. Beautifully sung and just devastating dramatically. Personally I don't understand the notion that Jenufa is innocent or idealistic. If anything she seems to be the most grounded, practical person in the entire opera. Mattila showed me a woman bucking against the notions of how a peasant girl was supposed to behave. She was clearly turned onto the more glamorous Steva over Laca because he clearly brought out (for better or worse) the independent streak in her. I'll never forget her response to finding out her baby was dead. It was as though a light had gone out inside of her. Her whole gait and bearing were completely changed and she seemed almost resigned to bearing that pain for the rest of her life, even with the semi-happy ending at the end. I like Racette but have a hard time believing she could match that.

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