The season will also include new productions of Gounod's Rom‹ et Juliette and Donizetti's Don Pasquale, the company premiere of Tchaikovsky's Mazeppa, and a gala performance bidding farewell to Joseph Volpe, who retires next year after 42 years with the company, 16 of them as general director.
An American Tragedy's libretto is by Gene Scheer, the songwriter who wrote the libretto for Picker's Th_rse Raquin. Francesca Zambello will direct the world-premiere production, which opens December 2, with sets by theater veteran Adrianne Lobel. The cast will include Patricia Racette, Susan Graham, Nathan Gunn, Dolora Zajick, and Jennifer Larmore. James Conlon will conduct.
Rom_o et Juliette will be directed by European theater and opera director Guy Joosten, making his Met debut. Ram‹n Vargas and Natalie Dessay will star. Betrand de Billy is the conductor. Don Pasquale will be directed by Otto Schenk; music director James Levine conducts. Simone Alaimo, Anna Netrebko, and Juan Diego Fl‹rez star. Yuri Alexandrov, making his Met debut, will direct Mazeppa; principal guest conductor Valery Gergiev will conduct.
The season opens on September 19 with a gala performance featuring Act II of Tosca starring Angela Gheorghiu and Bryn Terfel; Act I of Le nozze di Figaro with Isabel Bayrakdarian, Susan Graham, Dwayne Croft, and Bryn Terfel; and Act III of Samson et Dalila with Denyce Graves and Plšcido Domingo. Levine will conduct. The gala farewell to Volpe is scheduled for May 20, 2006. Details have not yet been announced, but it will include tributes and performances by current and former Met singers.
Revivals include Manon with Ren_e Fleming and Marcelo êlvarez; Samson et Dalila with Domingo and Olga Borodina; La forza del destino with Deborah Voigt, Salvatore Licitra, and Samuel Ramey; and Luisa Miller with Barbara Frittolo and Neil Shicoff. Fleming will also reprise her role in the Met's new production of Handel's Rodelinda, which premiered in December.
The Met will mark the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth with revivals of three of his operas: CosÐ fan tutte, Le nozze di Figaro, and Die Zauberfl‹te, in Julie Taymor's much-praised staging.