Preview of 2014-2015 HD Season

Preview of the 2014-2015 HD season of Metropolitan Opera performances.

Anticipation runs high for the 2014-2015 season of The Met: Live in HD. Of the ten telecasts, five are new productions, two of them operas never before seen at the Metropolitan Opera. The remaining five productions are audience favorites, four previously telecast, this season boasting new casts; Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg will be telecast in HD for the first time.  At www.OperaMetro.com please check for reviews of these HD operas at the Met to be telecast this season.

Please note: the casts listed below are subject to change; the dates listed are those of the live to-be-telecast Saturday matinee performances at the Metropolitan Opera House; the curtain times listed are for these afternoon performances and are in Eastern Time. Actual dates and times for the HD telecasts at your venue of choice may vary. Please check your local listings. Many theaters offer encore telecasts of the performance.

The first HD telecast on October 12 @ 12:55 p.m. ET, brings back the Adrian Noble production of Verdi’s Macbeth, this time with soprano Anna Netrebko in her first local forays into the heavier Verdi repertory. The stellar cast includes Željko Lučić as Macbeth, Joseph Calleja as Macduff, and Rene Papé as Banquo. Fabio Luisi conducts. This Macbeth promises to be an ‘event!’

Ildar Abdrazakov as Figaro in the Met's new production

Ildar Abdrazakov as Figaro in the Met's new production

Opening Night of the Met’s 2014-2015 Season, September 22, unveils a new production of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro by Richard Eyre, starring Amanda Majeska as the Countess, Marlis Petersen as Susanna, Isabel Leonard as Cherubino, Peter Mattei as the Count, and Ildar Abdrazakov as the clever Figaro, conducted by James Levine. This same cast graces the Met’s matinee performance of October 18 @ 12:55, which will be telecast live in HD.

The HD telecast of Richard Eyre’s take on Bizet’s Carmen follows on November 1 @ 12:55. Anita Rachvelishvili stars in the title role, tenor Aleksandrs Antonenko is Don José, Ildar Abdrazakov is Escamillo, and Anita Hartig is Michaëla. Pablo Heras-Casado conducts.

Bartlett Sher’s inspired production of Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, new in 2006, returns to the HD repertory on November 22 @ 12:55. Lovely Isabel Leonard is Rosina, tenor Lawrence Brownlee is the young Count Almaviva, Figaro is sung by Christopher Maltman; Michele Mariotti conducts.

James Levine conducts Otto Schenk/Günther Schneider-Siemssen production of Wagner’s grand Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg for the telecast of December 13 @ 12 p.m. He conducted the production’s premiere in the 1992-93 season and the performance on DG DVD, released in 2001. On this afternoon, Annette Dasch sings Eva, Johan Botha is Walther, Michael Volle is the noble Hans Sachs, and Johannes Martin Kränzle is Beckmesser.

Renée Fleming and Nathan Gunn star in the new Merry Widow

Renée Fleming and Nathan Gunn star in the new Merry Widow

The Met’s new production of Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow premieres on New Year’s Eve under the direction of Broadway’s Susan Stroman, with stars Renée Fleming as the merry widow Hanna and Nathan Gunn as Count Danilo, under the baton of Andrew Davis. Merry Widow will be sung in an English translation by Jeremy Sams. The matinee HD telecast is slated for January 17 @ 12:55.

Later in January (1/31) comes the return of Bartlett Sher’s dark and surreal production of Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann to HD (@ 12:55). In this go-around soprano Hibla Gerzmava performs the role of Antonia, one of the four lovers in Hoffmann’s tortured life. Baritone Thomas Hampson sings Hoffmann’s four nemeses. Always a prominent vehicle for tenors, the role of Hoffmann is sung by Vittorio Grigolo; Kate Lindsey repeats her roles as Nicklausse and Muse; Yves Abel conducts. 

Anna Netrebko brings Tchaikovsky's Iolanta to the Met

Anna Netrebko brings Tchaikovsky's Iolanta to the Met

If all the telecasts listed above offer standard repertory operas, the duo of Tchaikovsky’s final opera Iolanta and Bartok’s only opera Bluebeard’s Castle, telecast in HD February 14 @ 12:55, is a marked departure. Both in one act, each deals with the tremendous power of love under the dark eye of evil: not to give anything away, in the first it eventually goes wonderfully well, a bright moment, so to speak; in the second it goes badly sour, back into darkness. Anna Netrebko sings the blind Iolanta in this Met premiere, performing with Piotr Beczala as Vaudémont. Alexey Markov is Duke Robert; Elchin Azizov is the renowned doctor/philosopher Ibn-Hakia; Alexei Tanovitski is Iolanta’s father King René. Dramatic soprano Nadja Michael essays Judith, Bluebeard’s new bride in the Bartok; Mikhail Petrenko sings the somber Bluebeard. The productions are by Mariusz Treliński; both operas are sung in their original languages; Valery Gergiev conducts.

Another Met premiere this season is Rossini’s epic La Donna del Lago, telecast on March 14 @ 12:55. Bel canto superstars Joyce di Donato and Juan Diego Flórez team up to tell the tale of the Lady of the Lake: she is Elena, who, despondent and in hiding, finds peace on the shores of Loch Katrine; he is Giacomo (James) V, who, though technically an enemy, falls in love with her. How can he know that she loves Malcolm Groeme, here sung by Daniela Barcellona, who is a rebel. And, to complicate matters, Elena’s father Duglas has promised her hand to another rebel leader Rodrigo. With at least two prominent suitors for Elena’s hand, and one lurking in the background, the duets are magnificent vocal displays. The new production of La Donna del Lago is by Paul Curran, with sets and costumes by Kevin Knight; Michele Mariotti conducts.

Marcello Alvarez sings both Turiddu and Canio in the new double bill

Marcello Alvarez sings both Turiddu and Canio in the new double bill

At the end of the season we are treated to a new David McVicar production of Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana/Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, aired on April 25 @ 12:55. McVicar, who has handed us such greats as Giulio Cesare, Maria Stuarda, and Il Trovatore, plays with time here but not with atmosphere or character. Marcelo Alvarez sings both Turridu and Canio in this telecast; Eva-Maria Westbroek sings Santuzza, Željko Lučić is the jealous Alfio; Patricia Racette is Nedda and George Gagnidze is Tonio. Fabio Luisi conducts.

Information about HD venues, operas, dates, times, casts, and tickets can be found on the Metropolitan Opera website www.metopera.org.

The two venues in lower Fairfield County include the Quick Center at Fairfield University in Fairfield and the Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield. Tickets for the entire season or for individual performances may be ordered online at www.fairfield.edu/newseason for the Quick Center or www.ridgefieldplayhouse.org for Ridgefield. Or one may call the Quick Center Box Office at 203-254-4010 or 1-877-278-7396 or the Ridgefield Playhouse at 203-438-5795. Tickets for all HD performances go on sale to Metropolitan Opera contributors on Friday, August 15 at both venues; tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday, August 22. Please check for times and dates of additional performances. Ample free parking is available at both venues; please check their websites for directions to theaters and suggestions for fine regional dining.

Make it special.