The Met’s HD season for 2015/16

I took a quick look at the overall Met season here.  What follows is a more detailed description of what’s coming to cinemas and why one might, or might not, want to see the offerings.

NFnug_trovatoreOctober 3rd, 2015.  Verdi’s Il Trovatore.  This is the McVicar production that was broadcast a few seasons back with Sondra Radvanovsky as Leonora.  This time it’s Anna Netrebko.  Yonghoon Lee is Manrico rather than Marcello Álvarez.  The other key players are the same.  The Radvan version is available quite cheaply on DVD and Blu-ray.  One for die hard Netrebko fans I think.

NFnug_otelloOctober 17th, 2015.  More Verdi.  This time it’s a new Bartlett Sher production of Otello.  Aleksandrs Antonenko plays Otello, Sonya Yoncheva sings Desdemona and baritone Željko Lučić plays Iago.  Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts.  I’m not a Bartlett Sher fan so I’m not inclined to see this one.

NFnug_tannhauserOctober 31st, 2015.  Wagner’s Tännhauser.  This is the venerable Schenk production.  If you like traditional medieval kitsch productions it’s probably a good bet.  The pick of the cast is likely Peter Mattei as Wolfram.  Eva-Maria Westbroek is Elisabeth.  With Johan Botha in the title role and Michelle DeYoung as Venus the Venusberg scenes might be rather a matter of taste.  Levine conducts..

NFnug_luluNovember 21st, 2015.  Berg’s Lulu.  This is a new William Kentridge production with Marlis Petersen in the title role.  The supporting cast is good too and Levine, usually a superb Berg conductor, is on the podium.  It will likely be video heavy and how well that will film will be interesting.  Still, it’s Lulu.  One of the most interesting of this season’s broadcasts.

NFnug_perlesJanuary 16th, 2016. Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de Perles.  This is Penny Woolcock’s production from ENO which got pretty decent reviews.  It’s a strong cast including Diana Damrau, Matthew Polenzani and Mariusz Kwiecien.  Gianandrea Noseda conducts so it should be pretty dynamic.

NFnug_turandotJanuary 30th, 2016. Puccini’s Turandot. This is the old overstuffed Zeffirelli production previously seen in HD and available on DVD and Blu-ray with Guleghina in the title role.  The main reason to see this would be Nina Stemme’s Turandot.  If you can stand seeing the production again.

NFnug_manonlescaut_blMarch 5th, 2016.  Puccini’s Manon Lescaut.  This is a new Richard Eyre production set in 1940s Occupied France which sounds like a pretty good idea.  Then there’s Kristine Opolais and Jonas Kaufmann so eye and ear candy for most tastes.  Besides I’m a sucker for this work despite not being a huge Puccini fan.

NFnug_madamabutterflyApril 2nd, 2016.  Yet more Puccini.  This time it’s Anthony Minghella’s incredible beautiful production of Madama Butterfly.  It’s pretty much the only production of this piece I can stand to watch.  That said, it’s already been seen in HD and is available on DVD with Patricia Racette as a very fine Cio-Cio-San.  Maybe worth seeing for Opolais in the title role.

NFnug_devereuxApril 16th, 2016.  Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux.  This new production completes David McVicar’s Tudor trilogy.  Sondra Radvanovsky sings Elisabetta and I can attest that she can sing it superbly.  The supporting cast is excellent; Matthew Polenzani, Mariusz Kwiecien and Elīna Garanča.  One can guess that the production will be a bit heavy handed with horses, dogs and religious symbolism.  Maybe not.  maybe McVicar will regain some of his old brio.  This piece does really need a concept because Schiller’s take on Elizabeth is so much at odds with the received version in the English speaking world.

NFnug_elektraApril 30th, 2016.  Leaving the best until last?  Patrice Chéreau’s last production; Strauss’ Elektra, previously presented in Aix and Milan.  The cast is probably unbeatable today and maybe ever.  Nina Stemme sings the title role with veteran Waltraud Meier as Klytämnestra. Adrianne Pieczonka sings Chrysothemis, which has become one of her signature roles and Eric Owens is Orestes.  Esa-Pekka Salonen, conducts.

So what will I see having skipped the whole yawn inducing 2014/15 season?  The Berg and the Strauss for sure.  Maybe the Manon Lescaut.  Maybe the Roberto Devereux.  I saw Anna Bolena and Maria Stuarda so I might as well finish the series!  The revivals I’ll definitely skip and I’m not enthused about another Sher production.  I guess that leaves the Bizet as another maybe.


6 thoughts on “The Met’s HD season for 2015/16

  1. The manon lescaut production was seen in baden baden last year with Westbroek in the title role. I also think that she has the potential to be fantastic alongside Mattei in tannhauser.

  2. I saw Opolais in this production last season and it is a performance not to be missed, I will probably see it again even though I really don’t care for the opera. I saw the broadcast of the ROH Manon Lescaut with KO and JK and they were great–the best I can say after seeing three Eyre productions is his production can’t be worse than the ROH. I was going to skip Pearl Fishers until I saw Damrau the other night in Manon and realized she has been great in everything I have seen her in so I guess I will have to make this. Maybe because it was the first opera I saw (with Sills) but I have a great fondness for Devereux and its a great cast and at least McVicar won’t get in the way. I am dreading Otello (one of my very favorites)–after Comte Ory I do not know how Sher is allowed into the Met with a ticket. I seem to be the only person on the planet who didn’t like Kentridge’s production of The Nose and I do not have a good feeling about Lulu after watching the Met’s promo video. But it is Lulu (another favorite of mine) with a great cast so I will expect the worst and hope for the best. The cast for Tannhauser looks very strong but I can’t believe the Met is trotting this production out again–I saw it the last time it was done in 2004 and it looked like it was falling apart then. I have the Chereau Elektra and this is absolutely a must see. I’m suprised you haven’t gotten around to reviewing yet.

    • I’m so behind on DVD reviewing! We’ve been renovating for the past 4.5 months and my opportunities to watch DVDs have been limited. I’ll put the Elektra on the list for future viewing though.

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