Saturday, February 29 at 12:55 pm
Handel’s tale of intrigue and impropriety in ancient Rome receives its first Met performances,
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. Estimated running time 4 hrs 10 min
Der Fleigende Hollander
Sunday, March 22 at 12:55 pm (encore)
World premiere: Dresden, Court Opera, 1843. Der Fliegende Holländer
is the earliest of Wagner’s operatic creations to remain in the repertory. The two
lead roles represent archetypes to which the composer would return, in one form or
another, in most of his later works: the “otherworldly stranger” and the woman who
sacrifices herself for his salvation. The work’s unearthly ambience is impressive
but only one aspect of it: Both the world of nature and of the supernatural are magnificently
evoked in the score.
The opera is set on the Norwegian coast. The time of the action is not specified in
Richard Wagner (1813–1883) was the controversial creator of music-drama masterpieces
that stand at the center of today’s operatic repertory. An artistic revolutionary
who reimagined every supposition about theater, Wagner insisted that words and music
were equals in his works. This approach led to the idea of the Gesamtkunstwerk, or
“total work of art,” combining music, poetry, architecture, painting, and other disciplines,
a notion that has had an impact on creative fields far beyond opera.
Estimated running time
2 hrs 19 min
Saturday, April 11 at 12:55
Soprano Anna Netrebko, whom the
New York Times hailed as “magnificent” when she made her role debut as Tosca in 2018, returns as
Puccini’s explosive diva, back by popular demand. Tenors Najmiddin Mavlyanov and Brian
Jagde alternate as the idealistic painter Cavaradossi, and baritones George Gagnidze
and Michael Volle complete the opera’s fatal love triangle as the sinister Scarpia.
Bertrand de Billy conducts Sir David McVicar’s stunning production.
Premiere: Teatro Costanzi, Rome, 1900. Puccini’s melodrama about a volatile diva, a sadistic police chief, and an idealistic
artist has offended and thrilled audiences for more than a century. Critics, for their
part, have often had problems with
Tosca’s rather grungy subject matter, the directness and intensity of its score, and the
crowd-pleasing dramatic opportunities it provides for its lead roles. But these same
aspects have made
Tosca one of a handful of iconic works that seem to represent opera in the public imagination.
Tosca’s popularity is further secured by a superb and exhilarating dramatic sweep, a driving
score of abundant melody and theatrical shrewdness, and a career-defining title role.
Estimated running time 2 hrs 57 min
Saturday, May 9 at 12:55
Soprano Diana Damrau, following her triumph as Violetta in last season’s new production
La Traviata, stars 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.
World Premiere: Teatro alla Scala, Milan, 1835. A searingly dramatic setting of Friedrich Schiller’s play about Mary, Queen of Scots,
and her political and personal rivalry with Queen Elizabeth I of England,
Maria Stuarda had a troubled genesis, despite its musical and theatrical brilliance, and only recently
achieved a place in the repertory. These two fearsome rivals embody different perceptions
of royalty, which were very much in direct conflict at that moment in time, and the
opera’s drama is true to history in a way the facts are not.
Estimated running time 2 hrs 46 min