The Metropolitan Opera's newly announced 2020–2021 season features the anticipated house debuts of three directors: Tony winner Ivo van Hove (currently represented on Broadway with West Side Story) with both Mozart's Don Giovanni and Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking, Barrie Kosky with The Fiery Angel, and Simon McBurney with Die Zauberflöte. Rounding out the company's five new stagings is Verdi's Aida, marking the Met return of Tony winner Michael Mayer.
As a display of his increasing scope of commitments to the Met, Yannick Nézet-Séguin is slated to conduct six operas in his third season as music director, including three of the five new productions: Aida, Don Giovanni, and Dead Man Walking. He'll also take the podium for Fidelio, Roméo et Juliette, and Die Frau Ohne Schatten, as well as lead two concerts with the Met Orchestra at Carnegie Hall.
Mayer's Aida kicks off the season September 21. As previously announced, the production is part of the Met's partnership with Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre, in which Netrebko will lead three new productions, each playing both houses by 2022. (The other two, Strauss' Salome and Wagner's Lohengrin, will premiere in future seasons.) Netrebko will also appear in another Verdi opera later in the season: Nabucco, making her role debut as Abigaille; meanwhile, Mayer's staging of Verdi's La Traviata will run in both the fall and spring. The titles are two of the 18 set to return to the stage as a repertory offering next season.
Starring alongside Netrebko will be Anita Rachvelishvili as Amneris—reuniting the two after singing the roles in the 2018–2019 season—and Piotr Beczała as Radames. Latonia Moore and Hilba Gerzmava will sing the title role in later performances. The production pairs Mayer with several of his frequent collaborators, including scenic designer Christine Jones, costume designer Susan Hilferty, lighting designer Kevin Adams, and projection design company 59 Productions. Oleg Glushkov will choreograph.
Kosky makes his Met debut with his Munich-born staging of The Fiery Angel, opening November 12. The cast of the Met premiere will include Evegny Nikitin (who fills in this season as an 11th-hour replacement in Der Fliegende Holländer) and Svetlana Sozdateleva.
McBurney's staging of Die Zauberflöte will open at the Met as the company's New Year's Eve gala, conducted by Los Angeles Philharmonic Music Director Gustavo Dudamel. The cast will include Stanislas de Barbeyrac as Tamino, Christiane Karg as Pamina, Kathryn Lewek as the Queen of the Night, Thomas Oliemans as Papageno, and Stephen Milling as Sarastro. The production originally hails from Dutch National Opera, English National Opera, and Festival d'Aix-en-Provence.
In typical fashion for the Belgian director, van Hove marks his Met debut with two premieres in consecutive months, beginning with the Opéra National de Paris co-production of Don Giovanni (opening March 1, 2021). The cast will include Petter Mattei in the title role, as well as Gerald Finley, Ailyn Pérez, Isabel Leonard, Hera Hyesang Park, and Ben Bliss. Heggie's 2000 opera Dead Man Walking, featuring a libretto by playwright and opera buff Terrence McNally, will make its Met premiere April 8. Joyce DiDonato will lead a cast that also includes Etienne Dupuis, Moore, and Susan Graham.
Van Hove's usual crew joins him for both productions: set and lighting designer Jan Versweyveld, costume designer An D'Huys, and projection designer Christopher Ash.
On the heels of an acclaimed performance by Anthony Roth Costanzo in Akhnaten and the Met premiere of the Handel's Agrippina directed by David McVicar, the singer, composer, and direct will unite with a revival of Giulio Cesare. Iestyn Davies, who appeared on Broadway in Farinelli and the King and currently sings Ottone in Agrippina, will sing the title role with Costanzo as Tolomeo and Kristina Mkhitaryan as Cleopatra.
Diana Damrau, soon to sing the title role in the Met's revival of Maria Stuarda (the second of Donizetti's three Tudor operas), will headline another bel canto showpiece: Bellini's Il Pirata, in spring 2021. She'll share the role of Imogene with Angela Meade, who takes the stage earlier in the season to sing Elisabetta in the "Tudor Trilogy" culmination, Roberto Devereux.
Additional recent Met favorites set to return in repertory productions next season include Lise Davidsen (who made waves with her Met debut in The Queen of Spades last fall) as Leonore in Beethoven's Fidelio, Wozzeck's Elza van den Heever as Die Kaiserin in Strauss' Die Frau ohne Schatten, Brenda Rae (currently in Agrippina) in the title role of Berg's Lulu, Akhnaten alum J'Nai Bridges in Bizet's Carmen, and Christine Goerke and Stuart Skelton, who last year starred in Wagner's Ring Cycle, taking on the title roles in the composer's Tristan und Isolde.
As previously reported, the season will be the first in recent decades to extend into June, with a hiatus in February. The company implemented Sunday matinees into its performance schedule this season.
See below for the full roster, including dates for the Met's 10 Live in HD global screenings:
*Aida, beginning September 21 (Live in HD October 10)
Les Contes d'Hoffmann, beginning September 22
Roberto Devereux, beginning September 23
Carmen, beginning October 2
Tristan und Isolde, beginning October 17
La Traviata, beginning October 24
Il Trovatore, beginning October 30 (Live in HD November 7)
*The Fiery Angel, beginning November 12
La Bohème, beginning November 21
Fidelio, beginning November 30 (Live in HD December 12)
Il Barbiere di Siviglia, beginning December 11
Hansel and Gretel, beginning December 15
*Die Zauberflöte, beginning December 31 (Live in HD January 16)
Roméo et Juliette, beginning January 12 (Live in HD January 30)
*Don Giovanni, beginning March 1 (Live in HD March 27)
Giulio Cesare, beginning March 2
Lulu, beginning March 5
Rusalka, beginning March 16
Nabucco, beginning March 26 (Live in HD May 8)
*Dead Man Walking, beginning April 8 (Live in HD April 17)
Die Frau ohne Schatten, beginning April 16 (Live in HD April 24)
Il Pirata, beginning May 7 (Live in HD May 22)
Billy Budd, beginning May 21
For more information, visit MetOpera.org.