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CELEBRATING the MET's
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125th OPENING NIGHT
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SEASON HIGHLIGHTS



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OTHER ANNIVERSARY SEASON HIGHLIGHTS: 6 New Productions & 18 Revivals

The atom bomb debuts, if you will, on the Met's operatic stage with a new production of JOHN ADAMS' Doctor Atomic.  Opening on 13 October 2008 as the first new production of the 125th Anniversary Season, the American composer's work is an intriguing use of the art form as a medium for exploring the ethical and moral dilemma that physicist ROBERT J. OPPENHEIMER grappled with as the "father of the atom bomb."

 The new staging is by Penny Woolcock, a filmmaker who is not new to JOHN ADAMS' oeuvre, having directed the film version of ADAMS' The Death of Klinghoffer.  New York Philharmonic Music Director-designate ALAN GILBERT in his Met debut conducts the opera which features baritone GERALD FINLEY in the role of OPPENHEIMER, a part he first played at the opera's world premiere in San Francisco in 2005 under the direction of Peter Sellars.

Doctor Atomic is the first work by JOHN ADAMS to be staged by the Met and the only contemporary opera among the season's new productions.

The other new productions are mostly works in the standard repertoire, and they include:


BERLIOZ’s La Damnation de Faust, directed by Robert Lepage, with MARCELLO GIORDANI in the title role, SUSAN GRAHAM, and JOHN RELYEA, conducted by James Levine (Nov 7).

MASSENET's Thaïs, played by RENÉE FLEMING in the title role, with Thomas Hampson and Michael Schade in a John Cox production that originated at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, conducted by JESÚS LÓPEZ-COBOS. (Dec 8).


PUCCINI’s La Rondine, with ANGELA GHEORGIU and ROBERTO ALAGNA, conducted by MARCO ARMILIATO and directed by NICOLAS JOËL in a production that was originally mounted by the Théâtre du Capitole, Toulouse, and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (Dec 31).



VERDI’s Il Trovatore, a Met co-production with Lyric Opera of Chicago and San Francisco Opera, featuring SONDRA RADVANOVSKY, DOLORA ZAJICK, MARCELO ALVAREZ, and DMITRI HVOROSTOVSKY, directed by DAVID MCVICAR and conducted by GIANANDREA NOSEDA (Feb 16).



BELLINI’s La Sonnambula, starring DESSAY and JUAN DIEGO FLÓREZ, conducted by EVELINO PIDÒ and directed by MARY ZIMMERMAN, who also directed DESSAY in the 2007-08 season’s new production of Lucia di Lammermoor (Mar 2).




Notable among the season's revivals are:

The last Met staging of OTTO SCHENK's landmark production of RICHARD WAGNER's Der Ring des Nibelungen in three complete cycles between March 28 and May 9, 2009, conducted by JAMES LEVINE.  Brünnhilde will be sung by CHRISTINE BREWER (Cycle 1) and LISA GASTEEN (Cycles 2 and 3),  Siegfried by CHRISTIAN FRANZ (Cycles 1 and 2) in his Met debut, and JON FREDERIC WEST (Cycle 3), Wotan by JAMES MORRIS (Cycles 1 and 3) and ALBERT DOHMEN (Cycle 2), Siegmund by PLÁCIDO DOMINGO (Cycles 2 and 3) and JOHAN BOTHA (Cycle 1), and Sieglinde by WALTRAUD MEIER (Cycle 1) and ADRIANNE PIECZONKA (Cycles 2 and 3).

The next complete Met Ring cycle is planned for the 2011-12 season in a new production created by ROBERT LEPAGE and conducted by Maestro LEVINE who will also conduct the revival of MARK MORRIS' Orfeo ed Euridice (Jan 9) (with STEPHANIE BLYTHE and DANIELLE DE NIESE in the title roles) as well as three concerts of the MET Orchestra at Carnegie Hall (Oct 5, Jan 25 and May 21).

WAGNER’s Tristan und Isolde, conducted by DANIEL BARENBOIM in his Met debut (Nov 28), starring PETER SEIFFERT and KATARINA DALAYMAN in the title roles, MICHELLE DEYOUNG as Brangäne, and René Pape as King Marke.  BARENBOIM will also perform December 14, the first piano recital on the Met stage since VLADIMIR HOROWITZ’s concerts in the 1980s with an all-Liszt program, including transcriptions from three Verdi operas.

TCHAIKOVSKY’s The Queen of Spades, conducted by SEIJI OZAWA who returns to the Met for the first time since 1992, with BEN HEPPNER as the tortured Ghermann and MARIA GULEGHINA as Lisa.


CILEA's Adriana Lecouvreur, with PLÁCIDO DOMINGO reprising Maurizio in six performances , forty seasons after making his unscheduled Metropolitan Opera debut in the role. Originally scheduled to conduct the revival, which opens February 6,  DOMINGO will take over the starring tenor role, replacing MARCELO ALVAREZ (who took over from SALVATORE LICITRA as Manrico in the Met's new production of VERDI's Il Trovatore, which opens February 16). MARIA GULEGHINA sings the title role and OLGA BORODINA sings the role of the Principessa di Bouillon.



The following round out the revivals of the season:

Lucia di Lammermoor with DIANA DAMRAU and ANNA NETREBKO sharing the title role; Eugene Onegin, with KARITA MATTILA in her first Met Tatiana, who will also reprise the title role in Salome; La Gioconda, with DEBORAH VOIGT; L’Elisir d’Amore with ANGELA GHEORGIU as Adina, ROLANDO VILLAZÓN as Nemorino and BRYN TERFEL as Dr. Dulcamara; Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci with ROBERTO ALAGNA who will sing both roles for the first time at the Met, followed by JOSÉ CURA; Don Giovanni, with ERWIN SCHROTT and PETER MATTEI sharing the title role , SAMUEL RAMEY as Leporello, SUSAN GRAHAM in her first Met Elvira, BARBARA FRITTOLI as Anna; La Cenerentola with ELINA GARANCA as Angelina and LAWRENCE BROWNLEE as her prince charming; La Traviata with ANJA HARTEROS in her first Met Violetta and MASSIMO GIORDANO as Alfredo; Rigoletto, with ZELJKO LUCIC in his first Met performances in the title role, DIANA DAMRAU as GIlda, and GIUSEPPE FILANOTI, PIOTR BECZALA, and JOSEPH CALLEJA sharing the role of the Duke of Mantua; Rusalka, with RENÉE FLEMING in the title role, STEPHANIE BLYTHE in her first Ježibaba, ALEKSANDARS ANTONENKO in his Met debut as the Prince, and CHRISTINE GOERKE as the Foreign Princess; La Bohème, with ANNA NETREBKO and MAIJA KOVALEVSKA sharing the role of Mimì, RAMÓN VARGAS as Rodolfo, and MARIUSZ KWIECIEN as Marcello; Madama Butterfly with PATRICIA RACETTE and CRISTINA GALLARDO-DOMAS alternating in the title role, ROBERTO ARONICA and MARCELLO GIORDANI sharing the part of Pinkerton, and DWAYNE CROFT returning as Sharpless.


HIGH on HIGH-DEFINITION


The Met: Live in HD
, the highly successful series of live opera transmissions into movie theaters around the world will span the entire season beginning in October, 2008, and will include ten transmissions, up from eight in the last season. 

In addition, the Met's educational program of transmitting live HD performances free of charge into New York City schools will roll out nationally in 2008-09.


PETER GELB, the MET's new General Manager rightly looks ahead as the most important opera house in the world begins its 125th season. "We’re celebrating our 125th anniversary, but we’re not resting on our laurels,” said Gelb. “We want to ensure that the Met will thrive for another 125 years.”



Photo credits: courtesy Metropolitan Opera Archives


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