Only six new shows in Met’s next season

Only six new shows in Met’s next season


norman lebrecht

February 17, 2016

The New York Times has majored on the Met staging its first opera by a woman composer since 1903. The opera is Kaija Saariaho’s L’Amour de Loin and its has been doing the rounds in Europe since its Salzburg premiere in 2000. Fellow-Finn Susanna Mälkki with conduct. Nice.


Kaija Saariaho


Less encouraging is the realisation that only five other productions will be new.

They are: Tristan und Isolde to open the season on September 26, with Nina Stemme, Stuart Skelton and René Pape, Simon Rattle conducting.

Rossini’s Guillaume Tell follows with Gerald Finley is in the title role, Marina Rebeka as Mathilde, Fabio Luisi conducting. It hasn’t been done at the Met since 1931.

Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette features Diana Damrau and Vittorio Grigolo.

Dvorak’s Rusalka will parade Kristine Opolais, Katarina Dalayman, Jamie Barton, Brandon Jovanovich and Eric Owens, conducted by Mark Elder.

And finally, on April 13, 2017, Der Rosenkavalier with Elina Garanca and Renée Fleming, under the baton of James Levine.

The casting throughout is superb, but you do wonder whether six new shows are enough to stir a sluggish box-office.


  • Hanna Nahan says:

    The casting throughout is superb?? Have you been living in a cave? Domingo as Nabucco? Villazon as Don Ottavio? Racette as Roxana?

  • David says:

    There are six new productions THIS season!

  • Bruce says:

    Is six an especially low number?

    • Nick says:

      . . . and given the pretty abysmal reaction to many of Peter Gelb’s new productions during his reign, perhaps “only six” is a blessing! But the lasting question over the next 14 months will inevitably be – who will replace Levine when he is too ill to conduct yet another long opera?

      • Olassus says:

        Let’s hope he is well. But …

        *for Rosenkav, they would need Thielemann
        *for Nabucco, they would grab Muti
        *for Idomeneo, they would request Bolton, and
        *for Italiana, obviously they would beg Mariotti

      • Olassus says:

        And another thing. When is the Met going to learn to WRITE?

        Der FFFFFFliegender Holländer?
        Il BBBBBBarbiere di Siviglia?

        Talk about its mission to educate …

        Thank God there is no Così FFFFFFan TTTTTTutte!

        • Olassus says:


        • Bruce says:

          I don’t understand your post. Is the capitalization a problem?

          • Olassus says:

            Yes, of course.

          • Bruce says:

            Oh. Well it’s pretty standard to capitalize the main words of the title of any work (hence “The MMMMMagic FFFFFFlute” and “La TTTTTraviata”).

          • Olassus says:

            Bruce, unless all the letters are capitalized, it is grammatically incorrect in the Italian and German languages to capitalize certain words. As examples, these opera names must be written exactly like this:

            Così fan tutte
            Der fliegende Holländer

            The Met, with dozens of language professional on staff and a remit to set the highest standards for America, should never make such mistakes. And no, before anyone suggests it, this is not a matter of house style.

          • Daniel F. says:

            How about The Flying Effing Dutchman Sung in German Without Intermission as a Major Hardship for Older Men?

          • Bruce says:


            It is also grammatically incorrect to capitalize certain words in the English language … unless the word is part of a title.

            It may be that, since the Met is an American opera house, they are following English practice for titles (or perhaps it’s only American English), regardless of the language of the opera.

          • Olassus says:


            Well, the Royal Opera’s productions page today has:

            La traviata
            Il trovatore

            and the company would be creamed in today’s Europe for capitalizing a German adjective. But the British are beside the point. Bypass London! You know, several very visible entities are strict about this:

            Cour de justice de l’Union européenne
            Académie française
            République française
            Comédie-Française — carefully hyphenated

            The question of whether or not the article counts in canceling out the need for capitalzation after it is unclear in French and Italian, however. Most usage in opera says it does. Hence:

            Il barbiere di Siviglia
            L’italiana in Algeri
            L’elisir d’amore
            La bohème

            With religion as an exception:

            La Juive
            Les Huguenots
            Dialogues des Carmélites

            So there are rules. The Met is only dumb in making things uniform. (Old posters, incidentally, are not an authority, in the reality of advertising never having been an authority.)

          • Olassus says:

            … not counting this old poster!

          • Bruce says:

            Interesting. (ROH also lists Il tabarro, but The Importance of Being Earnest makes sense since it’s English)

            Since someone at the Met presumably knows Italian & German grammar well enough to know about this rule, I wonder how they would explain their deviation from it.

      • Petros LInardos says:

        Spot on about new productions. My concern is how long the good old productions will last.

  • J. Rudel says:

    Saariaho’s L’Amour de loin is astonishingly beautiful. Kudos to the Met for taking it on.

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    What’s your definition of new? A production from elsewhere hardly counts. Once Levine goes, perhaps the Met will start doing new commissions. “The Ghost of Versailles” won awards but that was in 1992!

    • Nick says:

      Why should a production from another country never seen in New York not be termed “new”? It’s certainly new to Met audiences, unlike all the revivals!

  • Don Ciccio says:

    And when will the Met update its calendar to include the 2016 – 2017 season performances? In previous years the calendar was up to date at the time of the announcement, but not now. You know, some of us (called subscribers) need to plan in advance.

    As a side thing, I hate the new Met web site anyway.

    • Daniel F. says:

      I could not agree more about the new Met website: it’s a user-UNfriendly abomination and the old one was so easy to navigate. The 2016-2017 season, however, is up, or at least I got it through a link supplied by Olassus, one of the comment-writers above.

      • Don Ciccio says:

        Indeed, the new season has its own page on the Met web site. What I meant is that the operas appear in the Calendar section as well. Right now the calendar only displays the current season.

      • Sam says:

        And why doesn’t the Met site include dates for Live in HD broadcasts. Is it a secret?

  • opera maniac says:

    Six new productions is reason for concern? I recall in the early 1970s that in some seasons the Met offered only three or four new productions. Even as joint projects with other companies, new productions are expensive.

  • Fred Plotkin says:

    Six new productions (or, new to New York) has been the average for quite a few years.!/story/analysis-metropolitan-operas-2016-2017-season/

  • Herbert Rakatansky says:

    As long as we are talking about correct english, the line:

    Right now the calendar only displays the current season.

    should be

    Right now the calendar displays only the current season.

    • Daniel F. says:

      You are a man after my own heart, sir, but this is one battle that cannot be won, at least in the US. The genie is out of the bottle and will never be put back in.