Theatre & Opera Magazine

The Future Is Now

Posted on the 03 April 2012 by Superconductor @ppelkonen

Met General Manager Peter Gelb unveils (some) plans through 2017.

The Future Is Now

Plenty of good seats available: general manager Peter Gelb poses on the balcony level
of the Metropolitan Opera House. Image © 2011 The Metropolitan Opera.

In an article published today in the New York Times, Metropolitan Opera general manager Peter Gelb spoke with Times critic Anthony Tommasini, outlining some of his future plans for the opera house's repertory.
The company plans to continue the initiatives established by Mr. Gelb's early tenure: a commitment to bringing in directors and artists from outside the operatic world, and the plan to bring in six or seven new productions each season.
Mr. Gelb, who acted last year to shut down the fan-run Metropolitan Opera Futures Page (which revealed carefully gleaned possible details of future opera seasons) teased the Times readers with some interesting productions planned for the next five years.
Here's a breakdown:
Eugene Onegin: Tchaikovsky's opera will open the 2013 season with Mariusz Kwiecien in the title role and Anna Netrebko as Tatiana. This is a new production by Deborah Warner. Valery Gergiev conducts in a return to the Met podium.
Prince Igor: Borodin's unfinished opera has not been seen since the Kirov (now Mariinsky) opera were in resindence at the Met in the 1990s. This new production will be mounted by Russian director Dmitri Tcherniakov.
The Merry Widow: It's springtime for Hitler's favorite operetta. Renée Fleming takes on the role of Hanna Glawari in this confection by Austrian composer Fritz Léhar. The staging will be mounted by Broadway director/choreographer Susan Strohman, whose credits include the musical version of Mel Brooks' The Producers.
Lulu: Artist William Kentridge, whose first Met production was Shostakovich's The Nose in 2009 returns to direct Alban Berg's story of a femme fatale who destroys every man she runs across--except for her killer, Jack the Ripper.
St. Francois d'Assise: Olivier Messiaen's lone opera is one of the most challenging, towering works in the repertory. This new production, planned for the 2017 season, will be mounted by Mr. Lepage. Bass Eric Owens, whose Alberich has been one of the breakout performances of the company's ne >Ring cycle, will sing the title role.
Mr. Gelb also defended the company's new Ring Cycle, directed by Robert Lepage from its detractors, which include this blog and Alex Ross in The New Yorker. In a recent column, Mr. Ross referred to this production as follows: "Pound for pound, ton for ton, it is the most witless and wasteful production in modern operatic history."
Mr. Gelb acknowledged that the show had its detractors. As he told the Times: "I reserve final assessment until I see how it all works out technically, when presented complete in the space of a week."
Responding to a 2011 column by Mr. Tommassini calling for the Met general manager to consider hiring a Director of Productions, Mr. Gelb asserted "I'm the director of productions. I hope you accept that."
Perhaps Mr. Gelb would consider the words of St. Francis, who said: "Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to his beloved is that of overcoming self."

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