New Productions of Aida, Die Zauberflöte, and Don Giovanni and Met Premieres of The Fiery Angel and Dead Man Walking Headline the Metropolitan Opera’s 2020–21 Season

Opening Night features a new Aida, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and starring Anna Netrebko, Anita Rachvelishvili, and Piotr Beczała, in a new staging by Michael Mayer.

Maestro Nézet-Séguin, in his third season as Music Director, will conduct six operas, including new stagings of Aida, Don Giovanni, and Dead Man Walking, as well as three classic revivals and two Met Orchestra concerts at Carnegie Hall.

The six operas conducted by Maestro Nézet-Séguin will all be featured in The Met: Live in HD series—the most transmissions ever led by a single conductor in an HD season.

Renowned directors Barrie Kosky (The Fiery Angel), Ivo van Hove (Don Giovanni and Dead Man Walking), and Simon McBurney (Die Zauberflöte) make notable Met debuts with new productions.

For the first time in recent decades, the Met season will extend into June and will include no performances in February.

There will be more weekend opera than ever before, with 22 Sunday matinee performances, plus onstage post-performance discussions with the stars of each Sunday matinee.

Notable debuts include conductors Hartmut Haenchen, Jakub Hrůša, Giacomo Sagripanti, Speranza Scappucci, and Lorenzo Viotti and singers Varduhi Abrahamyan, Benjamin Bernheim, Amartuvshin Enkhbat, Lucia Lucas, Thomas Oliemans, Svetlana Sozdateleva, and Okka von der Damerau.

Other notable conducting engagements include Harry Bicket (Giulio Cesare), Gustavo Dudamel (Die Zauberflöte), and Simone Young (Billy Budd), among others.

The 2020–21 season will be General Manager Peter Gelb’s 15th as the Met’s General Manager.

The Metropolitan Opera announced its 2020–21 season, the first in which Yannick Nézet-Séguin assumes his full breadth of musical duties as the company’s Jeanette Lerman-Neubauer Music Director, conducting six productions. His schedule includes the Met premiere of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, the first contemporary opera conducted by the maestro on the Met stage, as part of his ongoing commitment to opera of our time at the Met, which will expand in the seasons to come.

The season—which includes five new productions and 18 revivals—kicks off on September 21 with the first new staging of Verdi’s Aida in more than 30 years, directed by Michael Mayer, conducted by Nézet-Séguin, and starring Anna Netrebko, Anita Rachvelishvili, and Piotr Beczała. Australian director Barrie Kosky makes his company debut with the Met-premiere production of Prokofiev’s The Fiery Angel, with Michail Jurowski leading an extraordinary cast in his Met debut. Two Mozart operas will also be seen in new stagings: an acclaimed production of Die Zauberflöte directed by Simon McBurney and conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, and a sophisticated new take on Don Giovanni, Ivo van Hove’s highly anticipated Met-debut production, conducted by Nézet-Séguin and starring Peter Mattei, Gerald Finley, Ailyn Pérez, and Isabel Leonard in the leading roles. And in April, Nézet-Séguin conducts the Met premiere of Jake Heggie’s 21st-century masterpiece Dead Man Walking, with a new staging by van Hove featuring Joyce DiDonato, Susan Graham, Latonia Moore, and Etienne Dupuis.

Following the successful addition of 16 new Sunday matinee performances last season, the Met will offer even more weekend options in 2020–21, with 22 Sunday matinee performances. Each Sunday matinee will be followed by an onstage post-performance discussion with the stars.

For the first time, the Met season will include no performances in February, with the company instead extending its performance calendar into the month of June.

In his third season as Music Director, in addition to the three new stagings, Nézet-Séguin conducts revivals of Fidelio, Roméo et Juliette, and Die Frau ohne Schatten, as well as two of three Met Orchestra concerts at Carnegie Hall in June. (Semyon Bychkov will conduct the first concert in the Carnegie Hall series, on June 10.)

This is the season in which the Yannick era hits its stride,” said General Manager Peter Gelb. “In conducting six operas, he will be present throughout the entire season, raising the artistic bar for the orchestra, the chorus, and the entire company.”

The artistic excellence we achieve each season is due to the invaluable contributions in the pit and on stage by the great Met Orchestra and Chorus,Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin said. “This is an exciting time for opera, and I’m thrilled to be sharing my passion for it with the Met’s discerning and loyal audience, while deepening my relationship with this great institution. As we look forward to future seasons, we will not only continue to expand our repertoire with new commissions by living composers but will also be adding to our artistic ranks with more women on the podium and a greater emphasis on artistic diversity.

Dozens of the world’s leading opera stars bring their artistry to 18 repertory revivals throughout the season, including Marcelo Álvarez, Jamie Barton, Piotr Beczała, Angel Blue, Stephanie Blythe, J’Nai Bridges, Lawrence Brownlee, Javier Camarena, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Stephen Costello, Diana Damrau, Joyce DiDonato, Gerald Finley, Angela Gheorghiu, Christine Goerke, Susan Graham, Greer Grimsley, Günther Groissböck, Ekaterina Gubanova, Anita Hartig, Evelyn Herlitzius, Quinn Kelsey, Tomasz Konieczny, Isabel Leonard, Peter Mattei, Angela Meade, Latonia Moore, Erin Morley, Anna Netrebko, Lisette Oropesa, Eric Owens, Ailyn Pérez, Susanna Phillips, Matthew Polenzani, Anita Rachvelishvili, Brenda Rae, Golda Schultz, Nadine Sierra, Stuart Skelton, Nina Stemme, Krassimira Stoyanova, Elza van den Heever, Christian Van Horn, Klaus Florian Vogt, Michael Volle, Pretty Yende, and Sonya Yoncheva. They perform alongside a number of significant newcomers to the Met stage, including Benjamin Bernheim, Okka von der Damerau, and Varduhi Abrahamyan. This is also a remarkable season for new conductors, with Hartmut Haenchen, Jakub Hrůša, Michail Jurowski, Nimrod David Pfeffer, Giacomo Sagripanti, Speranza Scappucci, Lorenzo Viotti, and Kensho Watanabe all appearing for the first time on the podium.

New Productions

OPENING NIGHT: Aida — Giuseppe Verdi

A set model by Christine Jones for the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Verdi’s “Aida.”
  • Opening: September 21, 2020
  • Conductor: Yannick Nézet-Séguin
  • Production: Michael Mayer
  • Set Designer: Christine Jones
  • Costume Designer: Susan Hilferty
  • Lighting Designer: Kevin Adams
  • Projection Designer: 59 Productions
  • Choreographer: Oleg Glushkov
  • Live in HD: October 10, 2020

Verdi’s opera receives its first new staging at the Met in more than three decades, with a season-opening premiere production directed by Michael Mayer, whose dazzling vision of ancient Egypt comes alive with intricate projections and eye-catching animations. Anna Netrebko and Anita Rachvelishvili portray archrivals Aida and Amneris on Opening Night—reprising their acclaimed partnership in the same roles from the 2018–19 season—and Piotr Beczała completes the triumvirate as Radamès. Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads a benchmark cast that also includes Ludovic Tézier as Aida’s father, Amonasro, and Krzysztof Bączyk in his Met debut as the King of Egypt. A co-production with the Bolshoi Theatre, this Aida also features Latonia Moore and Hibla Gerzmava in later performances of the title role, as well as Ekaterina Semenchuk and Marcelo Álvarez as Amneris and Radamès.

MET PREMIERE: The Fiery Angel — Sergei Prokofiev

Evgeny Nikitin as Ruprecht and Svetlana Sozdateleva as Renata in Prokofiev’s “The Fiery Angel.” Photo: Alfons Altman / Munich’s Bavarian State Opera
  • Opening: November 12, 2020
  • Conductor: Michail Jurowski
  • Production: Barrie Kosky
  • Set Designer: Rebecca Ringst
  • Costume Designer: Klaus Bruns
  • Lighting Designer: Joachim Klein
  • Choreographer: Otto Pichler

Australian director Barrie Kosky, a bright and bold force in the opera world, makes his long-awaited company debut with the Met premiere production of Prokofiev’s devilish masterwork, conducted by Michail Jurowski, also in his Met debut. Portraying the vagabond knight Ruprecht, Evgeny Nikitin stars opposite Svetlana Sozdateleva, who makes her Met debut in the role of Renata, the pious young woman obsessed with a mysterious angelic lover. Kosky’s visually stunning production was hailed by the Financial Times as “a gripping evening” when it premiered in Munich in 2015.

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Television: New Staging of Verdi’s Masterpiece Otello Debuts On Great Performances at the Met Sunday, February 21 at 12 p.m. on PBS

Conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Directed by Bartlett Sher, Aleksandrs Antonenko, One Of The World’s Leading Interpreters of Otello, Sings His First Met Performances Of The Role, Opposite Sonya Yoncheva as Desdemona and Željko Lučić as the Villainous Iago

Verdi’s late masterpiece based on Shakespeare’s tragic drama of jealousy and deceit, Otello, airs on THIRTEEN’S Great Performances at the Met Sunday, February 21 at 12 p.m. on PBS. (Check local listings.) (In New York, THIRTEEN will air the opera at 12:30 p.m.)

Tony Award-winning director Bartlett Sher‘s acclaimed new production is led by dynamic conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin with Aleksandrs Antonenko in his first Met performance as the tormented Moor of Venice, with Sonya Yoncheva in her role debut as his innocent wife, Desdemona. Bass-baritone Eric Owens hosts the broadcast.

Great Performances at the Met: Otello

Aleksandrs Antonenko in the title role Željko Lučić as Iago in Verdi’s “Otello”. Photographed by Ken Howard/ Metropolitan Opera

Also featuring Željko Lučić as Otello’s sinister rival, IagoDimitri Pittas as Cassio, and Günther Groissböck as Lodovico, this staging also marks the Met debut of set designer Es Devlin, whose previous designs include the 2014 revival of Machinal on Broadway and numerous opera productions for Covent Garden, La Scala, and other leading companies.

Otello was originally seen live in movie theaters on October 17, 2015 as part of the groundbreaking The Met: Live in HD series, which transmits live performances to more than 2,000 movie theaters and performing arts centers in over 70 countries around the world. The Live in HD series has reached a record-breaking 18 million viewers since its inception in 2006.

Great Performances at the Met: Otello

Sonya Yoncheva as Desdemona and Aleksandrs Antonenko in the title role of Verdi’s “Otello”. Photographed by Ken Howard/ Metropolitan Opera

Often cited as Italian opera’s greatest tragedy, Otello is a miraculous union of music and drama, a masterpiece as profound philosophically as it is thrilling theatrically. Shakespeare’s tale of an outsider, a great hero who can’t control his jealousy, was carefully molded by the librettist Arrigo Boito into a taut and powerful opera text. Otello almost wasn’t written: following the success of Aida and his setting of the Requiem mass in the early 1870s, Verdi considered himself retired, and it took Boito and publisher Giulio Ricordi several years to persuade him to take on a major new work.

WNET NEW YORK PUBLIC MEDIA GREAT PERFORMANCES AT THE MET LOGO

ACT I

Cyprus, late 19th century. During a violent storm, the people of Cyprus await the return of their governor and general of the Venetian fleet, the Moor Otello. He has been fighting the Muslim Turks and guides his victorious navy to safe harbor. In his absence, the young Venetian Roderigo has arrived in Cyprus and fallen in love with Otello’s new wife, Desdemona. Otello’s ensign Iago, who secretly hates the governor for promoting the officer Cassio over him, promises Roderigo to help win her. While the citizens celebrate their governor’s return, Iago launches his plan to ruin Otello. Knowing that Cassio gets drunk easily, Iago proposes a toast. Cassio declines to drink, but abandons his scruples when Iago salutes Desdemona, who is a favorite of the people. Iago then goads Roderigo into provoking a fight with Cassio, who is now fully drunk. Montano, the former governor, tries to separate the two, and Cassio attacks him as well. Otello appears to restore order, furious about his soldiers’ behavior. When he realizes that Desdemona has also been disturbed by the commotion, he takes away Cassio’s recent promotion and dismisses everyone. Otello and Desdemona reaffirm their love.

Great Performances at the Met: Otello

Günther Groissböck as Lodovico in Verdi’s Otello. Photo by Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera.

ACT II

Iago advises Cassio to present his case to Desdemona, arguing that her influence on Otello will secure his rehabilitation. Alone, Iago reveals his bleak, nihilistic view of humankind. He makes dismissive remarks about Desdemona’s fidelity to Otello, whose jealousy is easily aroused. Otello’s suspicious are raised when Desdemona appears and appeals to him on Cassio’s behalf. Otello evasively complains of a headache, and Desdemona offers him a handkerchief, which he tosses to the ground. Emilia, Iago’s wife and Desdemona’s maidservant, retrieves it, and Iago seizes the handkerchief from her. Left alone with Otello, Iago fans the flames of the governor’s suspicions by inventing a story of how Cassio had spoken of Desdemona in his sleep, and how he saw her handkerchief in Cassio’s hand. Seething with jealousy, Otello is now convinced that his wife is unfaithful. The two men join in an oath to punish Cassio and Desdemona. Continue reading

GREAT PERFORMANCES AT THE MET: LES CONTES D’HOFFMANN

Great Performances at the Met: "Les Contes d’Hoffmann" - Erin Morley as Olympia in Offenbach's "Les Contes d’Hoffmann." Photo: Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera

Great Performances at the Met: “Les Contes d’Hoffmann” – Erin Morley as Olympia in Offenbach’s “Les Contes d’Hoffmann.”
Photo: Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera

Italian Tenor Vittorio Grigolo stars in the title role as the tortured poet unlucky in love in Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann on Great Performances at the Met Sunday, May 10 at 12 p.m. on PBS, in a production by Broadway director Bartlett SherThomas Hampson adds a new role to his extensive repertory as the Four Villains who interfere with Hoffmann’s courtship of four women: the mechanical doll Olympia, sung by American soprano Erin Morley in her role debut; the consumptive artist Antonia and the self-absorbed diva Stella, both portrayed by Russian soprano Hibla Gerzmava; and the Venetian courtesan Giulietta, sung by English mezzo-soprano Christine Rice. American mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey takes the trouser role of Nicklausse, Hoffmann’s faithful muse, and Canadian conductor Yves Abel leads the cast. Soprano Deborah Voigt hosts the broadcast.

Great Performances at the Met: "Les Contes d’Hoffmann" - Vittorio Grigolo in the title role of Offenbach's "Les Contes d’Hoffmann." Photo: Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera

Great Performances at the Met: “Les Contes d’Hoffmann” – Vittorio Grigolo in the title role of Offenbach’s “Les Contes d’Hoffmann.” Photo: Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera

Great Performances at the Met: "Les Contes d’Hoffmann" - Hibla Gerzmava as Antonia in Offenbach's "Les Contes d’Hoffmann." Photo: Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera

Great Performances at the Met: “Les Contes d’Hoffmann” – Hibla Gerzmava as Antonia in Offenbach’s “Les Contes d’Hoffmann.”
Photo: Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera

After becoming the toast of Paris with his witty operettas, Jacques Offenbach set out to create a more serious work. He chose as his source a successful play based on the stories of visionary German writer E.T.A. Hoffmann. Three of these tales—at once profound, eerie, and funny—were unified in the play by a narrative frame that made Hoffmann the protagonist of his own tales. Each episode recounts a catastrophic love affair: first with a girl who turns out to be an automated doll, then with a sickly young singer, and finally with a Venetian courtesan. In the prologue and epilogue, the hero is involved with an opera singer who seems like a combination of these three previous loves. Throughout the opera, Hoffmann is dogged by a diabolical nemesis and accompanied by his faithful friend Nicklausse, whose true identity is only revealed after bitter experience. Failure in love eventually fuels his future artistic success. Offenbach died before the premiere, leaving posterity without an authorized version of the score.

Erin Morley as Olympia in Offenbach's "Les Contes d’Hoffmann." Photo: Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera

Erin Morley as Olympia in Offenbach’s “Les Contes d’Hoffmann.”
Photo: Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera

Vittorio Grigolo in the title role of Offenbach's "Les Contes d’Hoffmann." Photo: Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera

Vittorio Grigolo in the title role of Offenbach’s “Les Contes d’Hoffmann.”
Photo: Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera

Les Contes d’Hoffmann will be broadcast on THIRTEEN’S Great Performances at the Met Sunday, May 10 at 12 p.m. on PBS.  (Check local listings.) (In New York, THIRTEEN will air the opera at 12:30 p.m.) Les Contes d’Hoffmann was originally seen live in movie theaters on January 31, 2015 as part of the groundbreaking The Met: Live in HD series, which transmits live performances to more than 2,000 movie theaters and performing arts centers in over 70 countries around the world. The Live in HD series has reached a record-breaking 17 million viewers since its inception in 2006. Continue reading

Acclaimed Soprano RENEE FLEMING and JOHAN BOTHA star in OTELLO, VERDI’s towering tragedy of jealousy and murder, on GREAT PERFORMANCES AT THE MET Sunday, FEBRUARY 24 at 12 Noon on PBS

SEMYON BYCHKOV conducts the Shakespearean drama, which also features FALK STRUCKMANN as Iago and MICHAEL FABIANO as Cassio

 

Renée Fleming as Desdemona and Johan Botha in the title role of Verdi's "Otello."Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

Renée Fleming as Desdemona and Johan Botha in the title role of Verdi’s “Otello.”
Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

RENEE FLEMING

RENEE FLEMING

VERDI‘s Shakespearean tragedy Otello starring JOHAN BOTHA in the title role and RENEE FLEMING as Otello’s innocent wife, Desdemona, airs on GREAT PERFORMANCES AT THE MET Sunday, February 24 at 12 noon on PBS (check local listings). SEMYON BYCHKOV, who led an acclaimed run of performances featuring Botha and Fleming in the 2007-08 season, again conducts the opera, regarded by many critics as Verdi’s dramatic masterpiece. FALK STRUCKMANN takes the role of the villain Iago for the first time at The Metropolitan Opera, and rising tenor MICHAEL FABIANO, a winner of the Met’s 2007 NATIONAL COUNCIL AUDITIONS, makes his house role debut as Cassio. Otello will be seen in ELIJAH MOSHINSKY’s production, which premiered at the Met in 1994. Continue reading