As the coronavirus pandemic keeps theatres shuttered—and as arts organizations contemplate how they can ensure the health and safety of employees and audiences once able to reopen—the Metropolitan Opera has announced that it will not begin its new season this fall.
The 2020–2021 season is now essentially the 2021 season, with the venue looking to reopen December 31 with a special gala performance (details to come).
As the shutdown also prevents the elaborate tech rehearsals that take place pre-season for new productions, the previously reported spring performances of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and Don Giovanni will now feature the current repertory stagings, as opposed to the new productions by Simon McBurney and Ivo van Hove, respectively. Similarly, the new productions of Verdi’s Aida (directed by Michael Mayer) and Prokofiev’s The Fiery Angel (directed by Barrie Kosky) slated for the fall will be pushed to a later season.
Van Hove’s production of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking is now the only new staging in the lineup.
With the shortened season comes adjustments to the Met’s newly implemented performance schedule. The new season was to include a February hiatus (and extend into June). Now, the Met will use the month to present three of its more popular repertory titles: Puccini's La Bohème, Bizet's Carmen, and Verdi's La Traviata. Additionally, most evening curtain times have been pushed to 7 PM, and particularly lengthy operas (such as Handel’s Giulio Cesare) will be shortened in the interest of audience appeal—and effectively reducing overtime hours for staff and union members.
Additional repertory performances in 2021 will include the previously announced runs of Strauss’ Die Frau ohne Schatten and Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette (both conducted by Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin) and Bellini’s Il Pirata, as well as Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, which replaces Berg’s Lulu (Brenda Rae, who was to sing the title role in the latter, will now make her role debut as Rosina).
The Met will waive all exchange fees for tickets purchased for the originally announced season, and ticket holders for canceled performances will automatically receive credit for refunds, exchanges, or donations.
The company halted performances beginning March 12 (the same day Broadway productions shut down), announcing one week later that it would not reopen for the remainder of the season. It instead continues its Nightly Met Streams series, offering a different title online every day.