The Metropolitan Opera's 2014-15 season, announced today by general manager Peter Gelb and music director James Levine, will open on September 22, 2014, with a new production of Le Nozze di Figaro directed by Richard Eyre and conducted by Levine, and will go on to feature a new stagings of The Merry Widow and Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci, along with the company premieres of John Adams' The Death of Klinghoffer, Tchaikovsky's Iolanta — which will take the stage in a new, double bill production with Bartók's Bluebeard's Castle — and Rossini's La Donna del Lago.
Comprised of twenty-six operas in total, the season will feature James Levine pacing the new Figaro in addition to revivals of Les Contes d'Hoffmann, The Rake's Progress, Ernani, Un Ballo in Maschera and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.
Eyre's new Figaro staging, which will update the opera's setting to Seville in the 1920s, will premiere with Ildar Abdrazakov in the title role; Marlis Petersen as Susanna; Peter Mattei as the Count; Marina Poplavskaya, making her role debut as the Countess; and Isabel Leonard as Cherubino. After opening the season, the opera will return for a second run in December 2014, with a cast that will include Erwin Schrott as Figaro; Danielle de Niese as Susanna; Mariusz Kwiecien as the Count; Amanda Majeski as the Countess and Serena Malfi as Cherubino. Edo de Waart leads the December performances.
The Met premiere of John Adams' 1991 opera, The Death of Klinghoffer, will take the stage in a production by Tom Morris, and will be conducted by David Robertson, music director of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. Baritone Paulo Szot will portray the Captain of the Achille Lauro; Alan Opie will sing the opera's title character; Michaela Martens will play Klinghoffer's wife, Marilyn; Sean Pannikar sings Molqi; Aubrey Allicock will make his company debut as Mamoud; and Ryan Speedo Green will appear in the role of "Rambo."
Broadway director and choreographer Susan Stroman makes her Met debut staging the company's new, English-language production of Franz Lehár's The Merry Widow, which will take the stage on New Year's Eve. The operetta will be performed in an English translation by Jeremy Sams, who directed and penned the lyrics to this season's new, English-language production of Die Fledermaus at the Met. Renée Fleming will sing the role of Hannah — the twenty-second role in her Met repertory — when the production opens on New Year's Eve. Lyric Opera of Chicago music director Andrew Davis will conduct performances that will feature Nathan Gunn as Danilo; Alek Shrader as Camille de Rosillon; Thomas Allen as Baron Zeta; and Kelli O'Hara, who will make her Met debut in the role of Valencienne. The Merry Widow will return to the Met's stage in April 2015 for performances that will feature Susan Graham in the title role, alongside Rod Gilfry as Danilo; Stephen Costello as Camille; Alan Opie as Baron Zeta; and Danielle de Niese as Valencienne. Met principal conductor Fabio Luisi conducts the spring performances.
In January, the Met premiere of Tchaikovsky's Iolanta will play as the first half of double bill of one-act works with Bartók's Duke Bluebeard's Castle. The operas will be presented in new productions by Mariusz Treliński, artistic director of Warsaw's Polish National Opera, and will be conducted by Valery Gergiev. Anna Netrebko takes on the title role in Iolanta, in what will be the soprano's second Tchaikovsky heroine at the Met. Piotr Beczala and Alexey Markov sing the roles of Tristan Vaudémont and Robert, respectively, while baritone Elchin Azizov will make his Met debut as Ibn-Hakia; Alexei Tanovitski sings King René. In Bluebeard's Castle, soprano Nadja Michael sings the role of Judith, while Mikhail Petrenko will take on the title role.
The Met premiere of Rossini's Donna del Lago will take the company's stage in Paul Curran's production, which first premiered at Santa Fe Opera in 2013. Under the baton of Michele Mariotti, mezzo Joyce DiDonato will sing the role of Elena, alongside Juan Diego Flórez, who, as Giacomo, will take on his fifth Rossini hero at the Met. Daniela Barcellona will sing the role of Malcolm; John Osborn sings Rodrigo; and Oren Gradus is Douglas.
Director David McVicar will mount the company's new double bill of Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci, which will feature Fabio Luisi on the podium when it premieres in April. Marcelo Álvarez will make his company role debuts as both Turiddu in Cavalleria and Canio in Pagliacci, while Eva-Maria Westbroek will take on the role of Santuzza and Željko Lučić will sing Alfio; Patricia Racette sings Nedda in Cavalleria, George Gagnidze sings Tonio, and Lucas Meachem will sing the role of Silvio.
In November, James Conlon conducts the company's revival of Graham Vick's production of Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, featuring Eva-Maria Westbroek and Brandon Jovanovich as Katerina Ismailova and Sergei. December will feature Levine pacing Otto Schenk's production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, with Johan Reuter as Hans Sachs, Paul Appleby as David, Johan Botha as Walther and Annette Dasch as Eva. Appleby will also take on the title role in the company's revival of Jonathan Miller's production of The Rake's Progress, which Levine will also conduct. The May performances of Stravinsky's opera will also feature Layla Claire as Anne Trulove, Stephanie Blythe as Baba the Turk and Gerald Finley as Nick Shadow.
In March, Levine will pace performances of Verdi's early Ernani, featuring Angela Meade as Elvira, Francesco Meli in the title role and Plácido Domingo in his first Met performances of the baritone role of Don Carlo. Levine will also be on the podium for April performances of the company's revival of Un Ballo in Maschera, with Sondra Radvanovsky, Dolora Zajick and Dmitri Hvorostovsky reprising the respective roles of Amelia, Ulrica and Anckarström roles in David Alden's production, which premiered during the 2012-13 season; Piotr Beczala will sing the role of Gustavo while Heidi Stober will sing Oscar.
Anna Netrebko will present her first North American performances as Lady Macbeth in a revival of Verdi's opera conducted by Fabio Luisi; Željko Lučić sings the title role, while Joseph Calleja sings Macduff and René Pape will sing Banquo. Diana Damrau will make her company role debut as Manon in March performances of Massenet's opera, which will take the stage in Laurent Pelly's production conducted by Emmanuel Villaume; Vittorio Grigolo will sing the Chevalier des Grieux, Russell Braun is Lescaut and Nicolas Testé is the Comte des Grieux.
In addition, the Met will present revival performances of Aida; Il Barbiere di Siviglia; La Bohème; Carmen; Les Contes d'Hoffmann; Don Carlo; Don Giovanni; Hansel and Gretel; Lucia di Lammermoor; La Traviata; and Die Zauberflöte.
Bass René Pape — who sings both Banquo and Sarastro at the Met during the 2014-15 season — will take the Met stage for a solo recital on Sunday, September 28. Joined by pianist Camillo Radicke, Pape will present works by Dvořák, Beethoven, Ravel, and Mussorgsky.
Likewise, Levine will conduct the MET Orchestra in three Sunday afternoon concerts at Carnegie Hall. An October 12 concert will feature a program of Mahler's Symphony No. 9 and pianist Maurizio Pollini performing Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21 in C. A February 8 concert will include Beethoven's Symphony No. 2 in D; Elīna Garanča singing Berg's Seven Early Songs; Elliott Carter's Three Illusions; and Schumann's Symphony No. 2 in C, Op. 61. On May 17, Levine and the orchestra will present performances of Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, featuring Yefim Bronfman, and Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique.
The 2014-15 season of The Met: Live in HD will include ten simulcasts of Saturday matinee performances to movie theaters around the world. The HD season begins on October 11 with the Met's simulcast of Adrian Noble's production of Macbeth, and will continue with Le Nozze di Figaro (October 18), Carmen (November 1), The Death of Klinghoffer (November 15), Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (December 13), The Merry Widow (January 17), Les Contes d'Hoffmann (January 31), Iolanta and Duke Bluebeard's Castle (February 14), La Donna del Lago (March 14), and Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci (April 25).