The Met sounds out new conductors

Despite the parish paper’s invocation of a ‘new era’ at the Met, the novelty value is confined to a clutch of fashionable directors and a showing of Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, ordered to please Diva Joyce. There are just five new productions.

What caught our eye more than the glitz is the number of conductor debuts, some of them long overdue.

Here’s a list:

Lorenzo Viotti in Carmen

Hartmut Haenchen in Tristan

Speranza Scapucci in Traviata

Michail Jurowski in The Fiery Angel

Nimrod David Pfeffer in Bohème

Giacomo Sagripanti in Barber

Jakub Hruša in Rusalka

Kensho Watanabe in Dead Man Walking

At least three of these names are making serious waves in the world. And it’s good to see Italians back in the reckoning.

These appointments might be Yannick’s major contribution to the ‘new era’.

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  • A few weeks ago, I saw Watanabe in Glasgow with Scottish Chamber Orchestra – with the lovely Karen Cargill singing the songs of Alma Mahler- followed by an absolutely brilliant Mahler 4. He is the real deal, folks.

    • Yes, he learned much in Philadelphia under Yannick’s tutelage, even stepping in for him on a moments notice. Kensho has the creds…watch him rise.

    • He was assistant conductor in Philly (under YNS) for three years and always performed ably when called upon. I’m happy to see him making his way up.

  • The big takeaway from all this seems to be that the MET will be dark for the entire month of February (according to NY Times).

    That’s a bold move…

    • …because ticket sales are the slowest in Feb. They’ve extended the season out about a month through the first week of June (the American Ballet Theater is usually in the house during mid May to early June).

  • Any season with Tristan, Lulu, and Die Frau Ohne Schotten can’t be bad. I like Mikhail Jurowski and it would be cool to see Fiery Angel.

  • Big changes in regards to tenors. There is no Roberto Alagna, Jonás Kaufmann, Aleksandrs Antonenko, Michael Fabiano, Bryan Hymel, Yusuf Eyvazov, or Juan Diego Flores. Some (Hymel, Antonenko, and Kaufmann) are no surprise as they have been no shows and frequent cancellers. Eyvazov was probably let go due to his whole fiasco with refusing to sing with an Armenian. Alagna has not sung well lately, but didn’t think they would pull the trigger. I was surprised to not see Flores or Fabiano. It sounds like Yannick is cracking down on no shows and bad singing, which is a good thing.

  • No need to read the neoliberal local rag which has really gone down hill.

    You can go directly to the Met’s home and read all about it. https://www.metopera.org/season/2020-21-season/

    To me it looks pretty exciting. An excellent mix of the old and familiar (Aida; Barber of Seville etc.) and the newer and less performed (Billy Budd; The Fiery Angel; Dead Man Walking; Il Pirata; Lulu) and the very old (Giulio Cesare).

    The Maestro conducts six of them. By the way, you missed Daniele Rustioni conducting Les Contes d’Hoffmann.

  • BTW: Only two really new productions: “Aida” and “Dead Man Walking”. The others are, as almost always, old ones from Europe. But that’s not the issue. The issue is, whenever the Met mounts new productions of the core rep, originating there, it’s likely a shallow, staid one, because the Met takes zero risk. And that’s the reason why the Met still is, internationally, artistically irrelevant.

  • This list of Conductors most definitely has Yannick’ prints all over it. Dead Man Walking is a dreadful piece of music but gets done to make liberals feel better about their views on state executions. Watanabe doesn’t merit a Met debut as he’s rarely conducted opera but was Nézet-Séguin’s assistant at The Philadelphia Orchestra … so nepotism is alive and well. Other far more skilled and experienced conductors have waited decades or are still waiting for a Met invite. Shameless! Clearly the coup is now underway as Gelb eyes his pension.

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