Russian soprano Anna Netrebko will star in three co-productions from New York’s Metropolitan Opera and Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre. The two companies will partner on new stagings of Aida, Salome, and Lohengrin, each playing both houses between 2019 and 2022.
Spring Awakening Tony Award winner Michael Mayer will direct Verdi’s Aida, which is set to open the Met’s 2020–2021 season. The production will mark the first under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin as the company’s music director. Nézet-Séguin, who will conduct the premieres of all three productions when they appear at the Met, was named music director designate following James Levine’s departure from the position in 2016.
Mayer, who is currently represented on Broadway with Michael Moore’s show The Terms of My Surrender, directed the Met’s current production of Rigoletto, which premiered in 2013 and sets the action in 1960s Vegas. He will also helm a future production of La Traviata for the company.
Claus Guth will direct Strauss’ Salome; the German director has yet to bring a production to the Met. Phelim McDermott, whose Coney Island-set Così fan tutte heads to Lincoln Center next year with a cast including Kelli O’Hara, will return for Wagner’s Lohengrin.
Netrebko, who will sing Aida and Salome’s title roles and Elsa in Lohengrin, will star in David McVicar’s new production of Tosca at the Met in spring 2018. Each title demonstrates her evolution to darker, dramatic roles (including two in German—a rarity for the soprano) and a departure from her bel canto repertoire. Last year, Netrebko withdrew from two productions of Norma (including the Met’s 2017 season opening), instead lining up performances of Il Trovatore.
“With its recently renovated technical facilities and its highly skilled artisans, the Bolshoi's workshops are amongst the best in the world,” said Metropolitan Opera General Manager Peter Gelb in a statement. “We're very pleased to be partnering with such a renowned company as the Bolshoi and to be pooling our resources with them.”
Bolshoi’s General Director Vladimir Urin added, “I am incredibly pleased that our new relationship, which has been in discussion for a year now, will happen and will result in several opera masterpieces appearing in New York and in Moscow. To collaborate with this great theater was our longtime dream.”
The three operas mark the first co-productions between the two companies against the backdrop of continued political tensions. The Bolshoi Ballet, however, has repeatedly played the Metropolitan Opera—first in 1959 (at “the old Met” in the Garment District, prior to the company’s move to Lincoln Center).