Peter Hall interviews Joshua Bell and many more people from the Classical Music Industry...
Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
Opera’s Greatest Hits with Stratton Rawson
Norma / Bellini
Ali Baba (1871) / Bottesini
The Metropolitan Opera
Director Phelim McDermott tackles another one of Philip Glass’s masterpieces, following the now-legendary Met staging of Satyagraha. Star countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo is the title pharaoh, the revolutionary ruler who transformed ancient Egypt, with the striking mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges in her Met debut as his wife, Nefertiti. To match the opera’s hypnotic, ritualistic music, McDermott has created an arresting vision that includes a virtuosic company of acrobats and jugglers. Karen Kamensek conducts in her Met debut.
PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY
The Queen of Spades
Tchaikovsky’s eerie thriller of imperial Russia has its first performances at the Met since 2011. Tenor Aleksandrs Antonenko is Hermann, the fanatical gambler whose obsession with a powerful secret drives him to madness. Soprano Lise Davidsen makes her highly anticipated Met debut as his long-suffering lover, Lisa, with mezzo-soprano Larissa Diadkova as the otherworldly Countess. Baritone Igor Golovatenko is Yeletsky, baritone Alexey Markov is Tomsky, and Vasily Petrenko conducts.
SATURDAY, DEC 21
Soprano Anna Netrebko created a sensation when she made her Met role debut as Lady Macbeth in 2014, opposite baritone Željko Lučić in the title role. Now, the two stars reunite to reprise their acclaimed portrayals in Verdi’s gripping Shakespeare adaptation. Marco Armiliato conducts a standout cast that also features tenor Matthew Polenzani as Macduff and bass Ildar Abdrazakov as Banquo, in Adrian Noble’s evocative production.
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART
The Magic Flute
A beloved holiday tradition continues as Mozart’s delightful fairy tale returns in the Met’s abridged, English-language version for families, perfect for younger audiences, with no intermission and a running time of less than two hours. Lothar Koenigs conducts a dynamic cast of standout Mozarteans in Julie Taymor’s magical production, an enduring Met classic with its eye-popping puppetry and stunning visuals.
Robert Carsen’s splendid staging returns for the first time since its blockbuster 2017 premiere, with Sir Simon Rattle on the podium to conduct Strauss’s glittering score. Star soprano Camilla Nylund is the worldly Marschallin, with the outstanding mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená as her exuberant young lover, Octavian. Bass Günther Groissböck reprises his definitive take on the lascivious Baron Ochs, and rising soprano Golda Schultz sings the innocent Sophie.
After wowing audiences with his astounding production of Lulu in 2015, South African artist William Kentridge now focuses his extraordinary visual imagination on Berg’s other operatic masterpiece, which comes to cinemas for the first time on January 11. Met Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin is on the podium for this important event, with baritone Peter Mattei as the disturbed title character. Soprano Elza van den Heever is Wozzeck’s unfaithful mate, alongside a commanding cast that also includes tenor Christopher Ventris, bass-baritone Christian Van Horn, and tenor Gerhard Siegel.
Michael Mayer’s sumptuous staging, a highlight of the 2018–19 season, returns with two casts of bright stars. Sopranos Aleksandra Kurzak and Lisette Oropesa share the role of Violetta, the opera’s tragic heroine, opposite tenor Dmytro Popov as her ardent lover, Alfredo, and baritones Quinn Kelsey and Luca Salsi as Alfredo’s stern father, Germont. Karel Mark Chichon and Bertrand de Billy conduct one of opera’s greatest scores.
Three casts of captivating artists bring Puccini’s classic tragedy of bohemian friends and lovers to life in Franco Zeffirelli’s immortal staging. Tenors Matthew Polenzani, Roberto Alagna, and Joseph Calleja trade off as the exuberant Rodolfo, alongside sopranos Ailyn Pérez, Hei-Kyung Hong, and Maria Agresta as the fragile Mimì. Marco Armiliato and Emmanuel Villaume share conducting duties.Three casts of captivating artists bring Puccini’s classic tragedy of bohemian friends and lovers to life in Franco Zeffirelli’s immortal staging. Tenors Matthew Polenzani, Roberto Alagna, and Joseph Calleja trade off as the exuberant Rodolfo, alongside sopranos Ailyn Pérez, Hei-Kyung Hong, and Maria Agresta as the fragile Mimì. Marco Armiliato and Emmanuel Villaume share conducting duties.
Porgy and Bess
One of America’s favorite operas takes the big screen on February 1. James Robinson’s stylish production transports audiences to Catfish Row on the Charleston waterfront, vibrant with the music, dancing, emotion, and heartbreak of its inhabitants. “If you’re going to stage Gershwin’s opera, this is how,” raved the Guardian when the new production premiered in London in 2018. David Robertson conducts a dynamic cast, featuring the sympathetic duo of Eric Owens and Angel Blue in the title roles and an all-star ensemble that includes Golda Schultz, Latonia Moore, Denyce Graves, Frederick Ballentine, and Alfred Walker.
La Damnation de Faust
Berlioz’s compelling take on the Faust legend returns for the first time in a decade, with an ideal lineup of stars. High-flying tenors Bryan Hymel and Michael Spyres sing the doomed and besotted Faust, opposite dazzling mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča as the forsaken Marguerite and bass Ildar Abdrazakov as the malevolent Méphistophélès. Edward Gardner conducts.
Exhilarating soprano Lisette Oropesa stars as the irresistible title character, the tragic beauty who yearns for the finer things in life, in Laurent Pelly’s revealing production. Tenor Michael Fabiano is the besotted Chevalier des Grieux, whose desperate love for Manon proves their undoing. Maurizio Benini conducts Massenet’s sensual score.
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART
Le Nozze di Figaro
Two outstanding casts—including sopranos Nadine Sierra, Anita Hartig, Susanna Phillips, and Hanna-Elisabeth Müller; mezzo-sopranos Gaëlle Arquez and Marianne Crebassa; baritone Mariusz Kwiecien; and bass-baritones Luca Pisaroni and Adam Plachetka—come together for Mozart’s scintillating class comedy. Antonello Manacorda and Cornelius Meister conduct Sir Richard Eyre’s fast-paced production.
Handel’s tale of intrigue and impropriety in ancient Rome arrives in cinemas on February 29, with star mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato as the controlling, power-hungry Agrippina and Harry Bicket conducting. Sir David McVicar’s production ingeniously reframes the action of this black comedy about the abuse of power to “the present,” where it should loudly resonate. The all-star cast features mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey as Agrippina’s son and future emperor Nerone, soprano Brenda Rae as the seductive Poppea, countertenor Iestyn Davies as the ambitious officer Ottone, and bass Matthew Rose as the weary emperor Claudius.
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART
Così fan tutte
Coney Island once again comes to the stage of the Met with the first revival of Phelim McDermott’s popular staging inspired by the side shows of the boardwalk. The pairs of young lovers are a casting dream: soprano Nicole Car, mezzo-soprano Serena Malfi, tenor Ben Bliss, and bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni, with the glorious bass-baritone Gerald Finley as the cynical Don Alfonso and the charming soprano Heidi Stober as the mischievous maid Despina. Harry Bicket conducts.
Der Fliegende Holländer
The great bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel brings his acclaimed portrayal of the doomed title sea captain to cinemas for the first time on March 14. Valery Gergiev conducts a new production by François Girard, whose visionary 2013 take on Parsifal set the recent Met standard for Wagner stagings. With sweeping sets by John Macfarlane, Girard’s new production turns the Met stage into a rich, layered tableau reminiscent of a vast oil painting. The gifted German soprano Anja Kampe, in her Met debut run, is the devoted Senta, whose selfless love is what the Dutchman seeks, with bass Franz-Josef Selig as her father, Daland, and tenor Sergey Skorokhodov as her deserted former lover, Erik.
Rossini’s effervescent take on the Cinderella story returns, with rising star mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught in the title role and tenor sensation Javier Camarena as her Prince Charming. James Gaffigan conducts the lively action, which also features bass-baritone Maurizio Muraro as the bumbling Don Magnifico, bass-baritone Christian Van Horn as the benevolent Alidoro, and baritone Davide Luciano as the wily servant Dandini.
Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts Massenet’s tragedy, a perfect vehicle for outstanding tenors, starring Piotr Beczała, who certainly fits the bill. The magnificent mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato is Charlotte, the object of Werther’s misguided affections, alongside sopranos Erin Morley and Ying Fang as Sophie and baritone Etienne Dupuis as Albert, in Sir Richard Eyre’s arresting production.
CHRISTOPH WILLIBALD GLUCK
Orfeo ed Euridice
Mark Morris’s spirited take on the ancient Orpheus myth stars mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton as Orfeo, the grieving lover on a quest through the underworld. Soprano Hei-Kyung Hong sings the plaintive Euridice. Mark Wigglesworth conducts Gluck’s elegant score, a pinnacle of the Baroque repertoire.
Soprano Anna Netrebko, whom the New York Times hailed as “magnificent” when she made her role debut as Tosca in 2018, returns to cinemas on April 11 as Puccini’s explosive diva. Tenor Brian Jagde is the idealistic painter Cavaradossi, and baritone Michael Volle completes the opera’s fatal love triangle as the sinister Scarpia. Bertrand de Billy conducts Sir David McVicar’s stunning production.
Audience favorite Ailyn Pérez takes on the touching role of Amelia Grimaldi, with legendary baritone Carlos Álvarez returning to the Met for the first time in more than a decade in the title role. Elegant tenor Joseph Calleja is her lover, Gabriele Adorno, and magisterial bass Dmitry Belosselskiy completes the principal cast as Amelia’s grandfather, Jacopo Fiesco. Carlo Rizzi takes the podium for Verdi’s timeless tale of political and family intrigue.
Two of opera’s most thrilling dramatic sopranos, Christine Goerke and Nina Stemme, reprise their fierce portrayals of the title princess. Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Carlo Rizzi take the podium to conduct Franco Zeffirelli’s dazzling production of Puccini’s final masterpiece, which also features tenors Yusif Eyvazov and Riccardo Massi as Calàf, sopranos Eleonora Buratto and Hibla Gerzmava as Liù, and bass-baritone James Morris as Timur.
Janáček’s gripping domestic drama makes a rare appearance on the Met stage, its first since 2005. The soaring soprano Susanna Phillips sings the title role, a young woman forced by fate to choose between true love and family honor, with beloved mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick as her unyielding mother-in-law. Tenor Pavel Černoch is the young object of Káťa’s love, and legendary bass Sir John Tomlinson is his rich but cruel uncle. Lothar Koenigs conducts one of the defining operatic scores of the 20th century.
SATURDAY, MAY 09
Soprano Diana Damrau, following her triumph as Violetta in last season’s new production of Verdi’s La Traviata, returns to cinemas on May 9 as the martyred Mary, Queen of Scots, in Donizetti’s bel canto showcase. Star mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton is her imperious rival Queen Elizabeth I, and the silken-voiced tenor Stephen Costello is the noble Earl of Leicester. Maurizio Benini conducts Sir David McVicar’s handsome production.