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Tosca

Tosca

Opens September 21, 2009
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 • Karita Mattila (pictured) sings the title role for the first time outside her native Finland, conducted by James Levine. Marcelo Álvarez is Cavaradossi, George Gagnidze sings Scarpia, and Luc Bondy, acclaimed for his imaginative theater and opera productions, directs in his Met debut.

• Levine on Tosca: “The score combines Puccini’s glorious musical inspiration with the melodramatic vitality of one of the great Hitchcock films. From the very first bar of the piece, it seizes you and keeps you on the edge of your seat until the last note.”

Tosca premiered in Rome in 1900. Puccini was inspired to write the opera after seeing Sarah Bernhardt in a performance of Victorien Sardou’s play La Tosca.

 

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From the House of the Dead

Opens November 12, 2009

Watch the video! Patrice Chéreau talks about directing Janáček’s powerful drama about life in a Russian prison.

 

 • Renowned for his legendary centennial Ring cycle in Bayreuth, Chéreau makes his U.S. debut as an opera director with this story of human resilience, seen for the first time at the Met. Conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen also makes his company debut, and Peter Mattei leads the ensemble cast.

• Chéreau on the opera’s setting: “The penal camp is a different society, parallel to ours, but there are many similarities between the two. Power, relationships, humiliation, passion—all those things exist in both worlds.”

• Janáček’s final opera was first performed in Brno in 1930, two years after the composer’s death. Based on a novel by Dostoyevsky, it features an almost entirely male cast, calling for an ensemble of 23 roles as well as a large male chorus.

Video Courtesy of Deutsche Grammophon 

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Les Contes d’Hoffmann

Opens December 3, 2009
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 • Met Music Director James Levine and Tony Award winner Bartlett Sher, whose Barber of Seville was one of the hits of the Met’s 2006–07 season, join forces to bring Offenbach’s psychological fantasy to the Met stage. Joseph Calleja sings the title role, opposite Anna Netrebko as Antonia.

• Sher on his production: “It’s a magical journey in which Hoffmann works out different manifestations of his psyche. Rather than a linear narrative, the opera is made up of poetic representations of the state of the character’s mind.”

Les Contes d’Hoffmann interweaves stories by the German Romantic poet E.T.A. Hoffmann into a fictionalized account of his life. Offenbach, known for his successful operettas, died before he could finish the score of his only opera. It was first performed in Paris in 1881.


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Carmen

Opens December 31, 2009
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 • Elīna Garanča sings Bizet's seductive gypsy for the first time at the Met in a production by Olivier Award-winner Eyre. Roberto Alagna and Jonas Kaufmann share the role of the obsessed Don José, with Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducting.

• Eyre on Carmen: “The opera is about sex, violence, and racism—and its corollary: freedom. It is one of the inalienably great works of art. It’s sexy, in every sense. And I think it should be shocking.”

Carmen was first heard at the Opéra-Comique in Paris in 1875. Scathing reviews forced the management to literally give away tickets to fill the seats. Today it’s one of the most frequently performed operas in the world.


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Attila

Opens February 23, 2010

Watch the video! Jacques Herzog talks about the design of the production.

  • Riccardo Muti makes his Met debut conducting one of Verdi’s rousing early operas. Costumes and sets for Pierre Audi’s Met premiere production are designed by Miuccia Prada and architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron. Ildar Abdrazakov (pictured) sings the title role.

• Herzog on the opera’s story: “Attila describes the moment in history where an old world, an antique world, is collapsing and something new is rising out of the rubble of the old.”

• After a number of fits and starts for Verdi, including a change of librettist and a period of illness, Attila opened in Venice in 1846 and quickly became one of his most popular operas. It then fell into oblivion until the latter half of the 20th century, when interest in Verdi’s early work revived.

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The Nose

Opens March 5, 2010

Watch the video! William Kentridge describes his approach to staging and designing Shostakovich’s opera.

 • Artist William Kentridge directs this Met premiere production and co-designs the sets. He defies genres with Dmitri Shostakovich’s adaptation of a story by Nicolai Gogol, in which a man wakes up to discover that his nose has disappeared. Valery Gergiev conducts Tony Award winner Paulo Szot (pictured) as the man searching for his missing bodypart.

• Kentridge on his production: “There’s a mixture of anarchy and the absurd that interests me. I love in this opera the sense that anything is possible.”

• Shostakovich’s highly theatrical score is a pastiche of folk music, popular song, and atonality. The Nose, his first opera, premiered in Leningrad in 1930. After its debut, it was not heard again in the composer’s native country until 1974.

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Hamlet

Opens March 16, 2010

 

 

 •Simon Keenlyside and Marlis Petersen bring two of Shakespeare’s unforgettable characters to  life in this adaptation by French composer Ambroise Thomas. When the production by Patrice Caurier and Moshe Leiser opened at London’s Royal Opera House, The Independent called Keenlyside’s portrayal of the title hero “a revelation... thrilling throughout.” Louis Langrée conducts.

• Thomas’s Hamlet debuted in Paris in 1868 and was quickly produced throughout the world. After Thomas’s death 1896, the opera was largely forgotten. Over the past two decades, revived interest has brought about a number of prominent revivals worldwide.

 


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Armida

Opens April 12, 2010
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 • Renée Fleming (pictured) stars opposite no fewer than six tenors, singing Rossini's sorceress of the title who enthralls men in her island prison. Mary Zimmerman directs this Met premiere and Riccardo Frizza conducts.

• Zimmerman on Armida: “Coming across this opera for me is like coming across a buried treasure, a box of jewels. It has an epic, enchanted quality and a tremendous visual element.”

• Based on the epic poem La Gerusalemme liberata (“Jerusalem Delivered”) by Torquato Tasso, the story of Armida inspired operatic adaptations by a multitude of composers, including Lully, Handel, Gluck, Haydn, Salieri, and Dvořák. Rossini’s version was first heard in Naples in 1817.