‘Ring’ cycle, including 3-D ‘Siegfried,’ dominates Metropolitan Opera’s new season

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The Metropolitan Opera’s 2011-12 season will be dominated by its new production of Richard Wagner’s ‘Ring’ cycle, including ‘Siegfried’ and ‘Götterdämmerung’ as well as three complete cycles scheduled for April and May 2012. The company said ‘Siegfried’ will feature 3-D technology as part of the production’s digital video projections.

In all, the 2011-12 season will feature seven new productions. Other highlights include Anna Netrebko in two new productions: the first-ever Met performance of Donizetti’s ‘Anna Bolena’ and Massenet’s ‘Manon.’ In addition, Jonas Kaufmann and Angela Gheorghiu will star in a new production of Gounod’s ‘Faust.’


‘Siegfried’ (Oct. 27) will feature Gary Lehman in the title role, replacing Ben Heppner, who recently withdrew from the cycle. Robert Lepage’s staging will use 3-D technology ‘to create an enhanced sense of theatrical realism for Siegfried’s forest dwelling,’ said the company. ‘Götterdämmerung’ (Jan. 27) will feature Lehman and Stephen Gould, sharing the role of Siegfried, and Deborah Voigt and Katarina Dalayman sharing the role of Brünnhilde. Music director James Levine will conduct all performances of the cycle.

The 3-D images, which are being created using software by the Canadian company Ré, are designed to readjust as the scenery moves and changes shapes on stage. A spokesman for the Met said that audiences won’t have to wear special glasses to experience the projection effects.

This will not be the first time that an opera production has used 3-D technology. In 1998, a production of Philip Glass’ ‘Monsters of Grace,’ directed by Robert Wilson, was performed at UCLA’s Royce Hall and other venues around the country. The opera featured animated sequences that used 3-D special effects. Audiences were required to wear special glasses during the opera.

The Met will continue its trend of bringing in acclaimed theater and Broadway directors, including Tony winners Michael Grandage for a new production of Mozart’s ‘Don Giovanni’ and Des McAnuff for ‘Faust.’

The season will begin with ‘Anna Bolena’ (Sept. 26), featuring Netrebko in a new production directed by David McVicar, with the orchestra conducted by Marco Armiliato. ‘Don Giovanni’ (Oct. 13), conducted by Levine, will star Mariusz Kwiecien in the title role. Another cast, conducted by Andrew Davis and led by Gerald Finley, will take over later in the season.

‘Faust’ (Nov. 29), directed by McAnuff, will star Kaufmann and Gheorghiu, along with René Pape. Yannick Nézet-Séguin will conduct this co-production with the English National Opera. Later casts include Marina Poplavskaya and Roberto Alagna. ‘Manon’ (March 26, 2012), starring Netrebko, is a new production by Laurent Kelly, which debuted in 2010 at the Royal Opera House, and will be conducted by Fabio Luisi.

Revivals will include Philip Glass’ ’Satyagraha'; Janáček’s ‘The Makropulos Case,’ with Karita Mattila; Britten’s ‘Billy Budd,’ with Nathan Gunn; Handel’s ‘Rodelinda,’ with Renée Fleming; Puccini’s ‘Madama Butterfly,’ directed by the late Anthony Minghella; Puccini’s ‘Tosca’ and ‘La Bohème’; Rossini’s ‘The Barber of Seville’; Donizetti’s ‘La Fille du Regiment’ and ‘The Elixir of Love’; Verdi’s ‘Nabucco,’ ‘Aida,’ ‘Ernani,’ ‘Macbeth’ and ‘La Traviata’; Humperdinck’s ‘Hansel and Gretel’; and a rare presentation of Mussorgsky’s ‘Khovanshchina.’

‘The Enchanted Island,’ a new Baroque pastiche, will play on New Year’s Eve. Directed by Phelim McDermott (of Broadway’s ‘The Addams Family’) and conducted by William Christie, the production features Plácido Domingo as Neptune as well as Danielle de Niese, Joyce DiDonato, David Daniels and Anthony Roth Costanzo.

For non-New Yorkers, The Met: Live in HD series will feature several transmissions to cinemas around the country, including: ‘Anna Bolena’ (Oct. 15), ‘Don Giovanni’ (Oct. 29), ‘Siegfried’ (Nov. 5), ‘Satyagraha’ (Nov. 19), ‘Rodelinda’ (Dec. 3), ‘Faust’ (Dec. 10), ‘The Enchanted Island’ (Jan. 21), ‘Götterdämmerung’ (Feb. 11), ‘Ernani’ (Feb. 25, 2012), ‘Manon’ (April 7, 2012) and ‘La Traviata’ (April 14, 2012).

The Met said that ticket prices will increase for the new season, averaging 2.7% on subscriptions and 4.2% on single sale prices. The lowest-priced seats, at $25, will not increase.


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-- David Ng

Photo (top): the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center. Credit: Alan Schein Photography / Corbis

Photo (bottom): A scene from the Met’s production of ‘Das Rheingold.’ Credit: Ken Howard / Metropolitan Opera