The Metropolitan Opera won’t reopen for another year

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The Met, whose budget of around $ 300 million in normal season makes it the nation’s largest performing arts organization, is taking a series of steps to try to ensure its survival and adjust to a world exchange. It is releasing its entire 2021-2022 season, months ahead of schedule, in part in the hope that people who bought tickets for canceled shows – around $ 20 million worth of tickets have already sold – can be persuaded to exchange them for the newly announced operas.

“Fire Shut Up in My Bones” will be one of three contemporary works from The Met next season – the most since 1928. (The others are “Eurydice” by Matthew Aucoin and “Hamlet” by Brett Dean.) The Met will feature stage the five originals. -current French version of “Don Carlos” by Verdi for the first time, in a new production by David McVicar which will be directed by the musical director of the company, Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

There will also be new productions of “Rigoletto” by Verdi, directed by Bartlett Sher, and “Lucia di Lammermoor” by Donizetti, directed by Simon Stone, whose staging of “Yerma” at the Park Avenue Armory caused a sensation. in 2018. Veteran soprano Nina Stemme will perform in Strauss’ “Elektra” alongside rising star Lise Davidsen, who also appears in that composer’s “Ariadne auf Naxos” and Wagner’s “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg”. “Die Meistersinger” will be conducted by Antonio Pappano, the musical director of the Royal Opera in London, returning to the Met for the first time in decades. And Susanna Malkki will conduct “The Rake’s Progress” by Stravinsky; she is one of five scheduled conductors to appear, the most in one season in Met history.

Mr Gelb said even when the Met can reopen, the public will likely be slow to return – with attendance perhaps half of what it was in pre-pandemic times. So the company will be adding curtain hours earlier at 7 p.m., which people have asked for in the polls. He will shorten some operas, presenting Mussorgsky’s “Boris Godunov” in a version of two and a half hours without an intermission; carving Handel’s “Rodelinda”; and by deleting the second intermission of Puccini’s “Madame Butterfly”. It will expand its offer for families by presenting a new 90-minute English “Cinderella” – an adaptation of Massenet’s “Cinderella” – as well as its popular abbreviated “Magic Flute”.

And the Met will work to increase the diversity of its offerings. While “Fire Shut Up in My Bones” was originally slated for a later season, Mr. Gelb decided that with calls for racial justice resounding across the country and the music world, it should be put to the test. honor next year: opening night of the Met’s comeback season. The company is also adding three black composers – Valerie Coleman, Jessie Montgomery and Joel Thompson – to the commissioned program it directs with the Lincoln Center Theater.

“We are trying to send a signal that the Met wants to face the times we live in head-on,” Gelb said. “Given all the calls for more social justice and diversity, we believe it is appropriate, after a year of absence, to return in a way that demonstrates the social responsibility of the Met.

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