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The Met cancels remaining 2020-21 season

Gilbert Kim Sancha

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A PERFORMANCE of Mozart’s ‘Cosi fan tutte’ in the world’s famous Milanese opera house, the La Scala. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF MET AND LA SCALA

he management of the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, popularly known as The Met, has canceled the remaining productions of the 2020-21 season due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

But the theater, regarded as the largest repertory opera house in the world, will reopen for the 2021-22 season.

“The inability to perform is taking a tremendous toll on our company,” said The Met’s general manager, Peter Gelb. “Our future relies on making strong artistic strides, while collectively reducing our costs until the audience has fully returned.”

He cited audience surveys that indicate it will take time before The Met’s box office returns to pre-pandemic levels.

“But we have faith that the members of our company and the public will understand why and how our return to normalcy must be managed. Meanwhile, we will continue with all of our digital media initiatives, which have kept The Met connected with our audiences here and abroad throughout the closure,” Gelb added.

2021-22 season opener
The Met’s premiere of Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones will open the 2021-22 season.

This is the first opera by an African-American composer, based on a memoir by Charles M. Blow, with a libretto by Kasi Lemmons.

It is one of three contemporary works that comprise the biggest number of new operas to premiere in a single Met season since 1928–29.

The other new works are Matthew Aucoin’s Eurydice and Brett Dean’s Hamlet.

Fire Shut Up in My Bones will be co-directed by James Robinson and Camille A. Brown, who collaborated in the 2019-20 season production of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. Brown is the first black director in The Met’s history to create a mainstage production.

The opera will be conducted by The Met’s music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and will star Angel Blue, Latonia Moore and Will Liverman.

Maestro Nézet-Séguin will also conduct Eurydice, Don Carlos and revivals of Le Nozze di Figaro and Tosca.

Three other new productions from returning directors will have their respective premieres: Mary Zimmerman’s Eurydice, Bartlett Sher’s Rigoletto and Sir David McVicar’s Don Carlos.

Lucia di Lammermoor will see the highly anticipated Met debut of directors Simon Stone and Neil Armfield, bringing his acclaimed Glyndebourne Festival production of Dean’s Hamlet.

Adding to these new productions is Kelley Rourke’s new abridged English-language holiday presentation of Cinderella adapted from Laurent Pelly’s witty, charming 2018 production of Massenet’s Cendrillon.

Even with its lights out, The Met continues to brighten the lives of its audience when it launched the nightly opera streams amid the pandemic.

The Met: Live in HD series of cinema transmission will return with 10 presentations, including six new productions.

Not to be missed is the company’s acclaimed pay-per-view Met Stars Live in Concert series, featuring opera’s greatest stars performing live via satellite from across Europe and the US.

High notes and high drama will be in abundance when Sondra Radvanovsky and Piotr Beczała perform in a live broadcast from Germany’s historic Stadthalle Wuppertal, on 23 January.

Next on the list is Anna Netrebko on 6 February.

The first classical music artist to land in Time Magazine’s Time 100 list, soprano Netrebko, will star in Franco Zeffirelli’s production of Puccini’s Turandot opposite her tenor husband Yusif Eyvazov.

Sonya Yoncheva showcases her riveting artistry in a special program live from the Baroque library of the Schussenried Cloister in southwest Germany on 27 February.

Before that, Yoncheva and a select group of Met singers will headline a recital of favorite arias and songs accompanied by pianist Malcolm Martineau on 23 January.

American soprano Angel Blue, who has taken the Met by storm in recent seasons, gives a live performance in New York City (date to be announced).

On 6 February, The Met will present Lucia di Lammermoor starring Maria Callas from 1956. This broadcast from the archives received the most votes as part of the 2020–21 season of Saturday Matinee Broadcasts.

The National Council Auditions Grand Finals Concert will be broadcast on Met Opera Radio and streamed live on the Met website on 1 May 2022. The finalists will compete for cash prizes and the chance to launch a major operatic career while accompanied by the Met Orchestra, conducted by Marco Armiliato.

‘Cosi fan tutte’ is an opera of two acts and is often translated as ‘All Women Do The Same.’

La Scala
Meanwhile, La Scala, the world’s most famous Milanese opera house, will host a performance of Mozart’s masterpiece, Cosi fan tutte, to be streamed via the Teatro alla Scala website and multimedia portal RaiPlay at 7 p.m. on 23 January.

The La Scala restaging of Michael Hampe’s breathtaking sceneries which debuted at the Salzburg Festival in August 1982 under the direction of Riccardo Muti and Mauro Pagano’s Neapolitan costumes will be directed by Milan born Maestro Giovanni Antonini.

It came to La Scala for the first time in 1983 and was revived in 1989. And the success of the production made Hampe a constant presence in Salzburg and his collaboration with Mutti continued.

Maestro Antonini has conducted Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro and Handel’s Alcina at the Scala and at the Zurich Opera House.

The rehearsals for Cosi fan tutte began on 28 December 2020 with a cast that includes Eleonora Buratto (Fiordiligi), Emily d’Angelo (Dorabella), Bogdan Volkov (Ferrando), Alessio Arduini (Guglielmo), Federica Guida (Despina) and Pietro Spagnoli (Don Alfonso).

The cast, choristers and musicians, except for winds, will wear masks during the performance. The choristers and musicians will be positioned at the center of the house, turning their backs on the stage and facing only the conductor.

Prior to the opera streaming, La Scala had streamed a ballet, a singing recital, a children’s concert and two symphonic music concerts (romantic repertoire and contemporary) on its website, Facebook and YouTube pages.

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