The Metropolitan Opera’s 2018–2019 season will feature four productions new to the house—a continued decrease from the previous six and the current season’s five. Despite the scale back, the lineup is not short on epic offerings, which includes a revival of Wagner’s four-part Ring Cycle (the first in six years).
Music Director Designate Yannick Nézet-Séguin will officially assume the title full-time as the season opens in the fall, two seasons ahead of schedule. The announcement trails a string of sexual misconduct accusations against James Levine, which led to the music director emeritus' suspension. Nézet-Séguin will conduct three productions and two Met Orchestra concerts at Carnegie Hall in both the 2018–2019 and 2019–2020 seasons; he'll subsequently take the podium for at least five operas a season.
Three directors—two of them Tony Award winners–will helm the four new productions. The season kicks off September 24 with Saint-Saëns’ Samson et Dalila, helmed by Darko Tresnjak (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Broadway’s current Anastasia) in his Met debut. Elīna Garanča and Roberto Alagna will star.
Michael Mayer returns to the Met after directing the Vegas-set Rigoletto for two new stagings, beginning with the North American premiere of Nico Muhly’s Marnie. Isabel Leonard will star in the title role alongside Christopher Maltman, Farinelli and the King’s Iestyn Davis, Janis Kelly, and Denyce Graves. The English National Opera co-production will open October 19.
He'll follow Marnie with a new presentation of La Traviata beginning December 4. Diana Damrau, who both made her role debut as Violetta and worked with Mayer on Rigoletto with the Met in 2013, will star as the tragic heroine Violetta once more. Joining her are Juan Diego Flórez as Alfredo and Quinn Kelsey as Giorgio Germont. The production will return in April 2019 with a cast that includes Anita Hartig and Stephen Costello, with Artur Ruciński and Plácido Domingo sharing the role of Giorgio.
Mayer will set the Verdi opera in the 18th century in a staging that captures the changing of the seasons—a decision that appears to distance the Met from the new production's sparse predecessor (from director Willy Decker) and lean into a decidedly more traditional approach. The creative team includes Tony-winning Broadway veterans Susan Hilferty (costumes), Kevin Adams (lighting), and Christine Jones (sets), as well as choreographer Lorin Latarro.
Met staple David McVicar returns to helm a new Adriana Lecouvreur starring Anna Netrebko and Piotr Beczala. The production will open with a New Year's Eve gala presentation.
Wagner's four-part epic Der Ring Des Nibelungen heads to the Met March–May 2019, marking its return for the first time since 2013. Among those taking the stage in Robert Lepage's production of the Ring Cycle are Christine Goerke as Brünnhilde, Stefan Vinke and Andreas Schager as Siegried, Eva-Maria Westbroek as Sieglinde, Jamie Barton as Fricka, and Eric Owens as Hagen.
Repertory highlights include Anna Netrebko making her role debut as Aida opposite Aleksandrs Antonenko and Anita Rachvelishvili (prior to Netrebko leading a Mayer-led Aida in a future season), Jonas Kaufmann in La Faniculla del West alongside Westbroek and Željko Lučić, Pretty Yende headlining the first Met return of Penny Woolcock's staging Les Pêcheurs de Perles, and Jack O'Brien's 2007 production of Il Trittico (a centennial presentation of Puccini's three one-acts) with a company featuring Kristine Opolais, Plácido Domingo, and Stephanie Blythe.