Superstar soprano Anna Netrebko makes her Met role debut as Aida in this thirtieth-anniversary revival of Sonja Frisell’s production. Verdi’s drama is set in Ancient Egypt, where the Ethiopian Aida lives a life of slavery. She and the Egyptian warrior Radamès, sung by tenor Aleksandrs Antonenko, have fallen in love, although the princess Amneris—mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili—is an implacable rival for Radamès’ affections. Then, when Radamès goes into battle, he unwittingly captures Aida’s father as a prisoner of war. As Aida and Radamès face impossible choices between patriotism, passion, and paternal bonds, the stage is set for tragedy. With heart-stopping music and spectacular set pieces, including the famous Triumphal March, Verdi’s towering masterpiece opens the new Live in HD season with a bang.
Tony Award-winning director Darko Tresnjak gives Saint-Saëns’s biblical epic its first new Met production in twenty years. Blessed with immense physical strength, Hebrew leader Samson is sworn to defend his people and his faith from the Philistines. Though his body is strong, his heart is tender, though. When the Philistine Dalila sets out to seduce him, he is powerless to resist. The beautiful aria “Mon Coeur S’ouvre à ta Vvoix ” marks the climax of his seduction—and his betrayal. He reveals to Dalila the secret of his strength, and immediately, his fate is sealed. Imprisoned, blinded, and humiliated, how can Samson atone for his folly? Soprano Elīna Garanča and tenor Roberto Alagna sing the title roles, with Sir Mark Elder conducting.
Puccini’s gunpowder western returns to the stage where it premiered under Arturo Toscanini. Gold Rush, 1849. Bar owner Minnie looks after a crew of rough miners while fending off the unwanted attention of the local sheriff. When a tall, mysterious stranger walks into the bar, it looks as if her life is about to change. But the newcomer is not what he seems, and Minnie gets drawn into deadly peril. Boasting gunfights, poker games, and stagecoach robbers, La Fanciulla del West combines the action of a great adventure with the emotional punch of Italian opera. Soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek sings the role of the gunslinging heroine, alongside Jonas Kaufmann as the outlaw who steals her heart. Marco Armiliato conducts.
A young woman lies, cheats, and steals her way through life, propelled by compulsions she can neither control nor understand. A wealthy man catches her red-handed and blackmails her into marrying him. Will the truth about her past send her to jail or set her free? Based on the novel that also inspired Hitchcock’s celebrated thriller, composer Nico Muhly’s Marnie was co-commissioned and co-produced with the English National Opera and receives its U.S. premiere at the Met this season. Mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard stars in the title role, opposite baritone Christopher Maltman as her husband. Costume design is by Madonna’s collaborator of twenty years, Arianne Phillips, who created every item seen on stage in this stylish, vivid production.
New Met Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin launches his tenure by conducting Verdi’s timeless tragedy. Worldly courtesan Violetta, sung by soprano Diana Damrau, has grown tired of her dissolute life. When the pure-hearted Alfredo—tenor Juan Diego Flórez—declares his love for her, she leaves everything behind to live with him. But his family’s reputation is ruined by his association with her, and Violetta is torn between her feelings for Alfredo and her desire to protect him from scandal. Urged by the young man’s father, she tears herself away and returns to her old life. Alfredo, not knowing the real reason for her apparent betrayal, is heartbroken – and bent on revenge. Directed by Michael Mayer, this new production features a dazzling eighteenth-century setting that changes with the seasons.
For the first time at the Met, soprano Anna Netrebko sings the role of Adriana Lecouvreur, the eighteenth-century actress whose real-life intrigues inspired Cilea’s tragic opera. Adriana is adored by many but loves only Maurizio, sung by tenor (Piotr Beczała), who adores her in return. Maurizio desperately tries to extricate himself from his previous lover, the Princess deof Bouillon— mezzo-soprano (Anita Rachvelishvili). When the princess discovers that Adriana is her rival, she takes desperate measures of her own. In this new production directed by Sir David McVicar, the action is partially set in a working replica of a baroque theatre. Gianandrea Noseda conducts the riveting score.
Love is a wild bird… Don’t miss this revival of Sir Richard Eyre’s dynamic production. Mezzo-soprano Clémentine Margaine plays opera’s ultimate seductress, while Roberto Alagna returns to the role of Don José, the good-hearted soldier with whom she unleashes an uncontrollable passion. Don José breaks the law, goes to prison, deserts the army and loses everything to be with Carmen. But the capricious Carmen gypsy soon tires of him and takes up instead with the bullfighter Escamillo—bass (Alexander Vinogradov). She has ruined his life, but still, Don José adores her, with a fierceness that can only lead to catastrophe. Composer Bizet died just three months after Carmen’s disastrous premiere, never knowing that his creation would become one of the most popular operas of all time.
Full of wit and invention, Donizetti’s comic opera is a delight. The famous aria “Ah, Mes Amis,” with its nine high Cs, is known as the Mount Everest for tenors one of opera’s most show-stopping numbers. Bel canto stars Pretty Yende and Javier Camarena takes on the challenging vocal fireworks in this revival, a co-production with London’s Royal Opera House and the Wiener StaatsoperLaurent Pelly’s hilarious staging. Orphaned as a small child and raised by an entire army regiment, the spirited Marie has grown up as the regiment’s ‘daughter’, raising morale and spreading joy. Tonio, a local man, falls in love with her and even joins the army for her sake. But a chance encounter with a noblewoman sparks a sudden revelation, and a tale unfolds of secret identities, long-lost family, and murky pasts.
Featuring some of the most glorious music ever written—including, of course, the Ride of the Valkyries —Die Walküre is the second of the four operas that comprise Wagner’s Ring cycle, a story of monsters, gods, and humans on a superhuman scale. When twins Siegmund and Sieglinde find each other at last, Siegmund promises to release Sieglinde from her forced marriage by killing her husband, Hunding. The god Wotan instructs Valkyrie warrior Brünnhilde to defend Hunding. But, moved by the twins’ mutual devotion, Brünnhilde refuses to obey, forging an alliance with Sieglinde that has far-reaching consequences for them both. Soprano Christine Goerke sings Brünnhilde, tenor Stuart Skelton and soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek are the love-struck twins, and Ring cycle veteran Philippe Jordan conducts.
Met Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads Poulenc’s masterpiece. As the French Revolution begins, shy Blanche, sung by mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard, becomes a novice nun under an elderly prioress—Met legend Karita Mattila. Blanche’s aristocratic family flees the Terror, but she remains behind, struggling between her fear of the guillotine and her duty to the convent. When the nuns are expelled from the convent and threatened with death, Blanche must make an agonising decision. In the shattering final scene, the nuns walk towards the guillotine singing Salve Regina: Their voices are cut off, one by one, with each stroke of the blade, until all are silenced. Poulenc’s devastating portrayal of faith and martyrdom is live in HD for the first time.