New York City is about to have a fall without the Metropolitan Opera for the first time in more than a century.
On Monday, the NYC institution announced that it is canceling the first few months of the 2020-21 season with plans to reopen its doors with a gala on December 31, 2020.
"Social distancing and grand opera simply don't go together," said General Manager Peter Gelb, in a video at metopera.org. "Our doctors, medical advisers and health and government officials agree as long as social distancing is required, we can't put on performances here, and clearly that is the state of affairs for the fall."
Fans can expect that Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and Don Giovanni will be performed in revivals of the Julie Taymor and Michael Grandage productions, respectively, rather than the previously announced new stagings by Simon McBurney and Ivo van Hove. These new productions, as well as the previously scheduled fall new stagings of Verdi’s Aida and Prokofiev’s The Fiery Angel, will be rescheduled for later seasons.
Van Hove’s Met-premiere production of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, conducted by Met Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, will remain on the schedule as planned.
Maestro Nézet-Séguin will conduct a total of 26 performances over the course of the revamped season, including performances of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Strauss’s Die Frau ohne Schatten, and Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette.
In February, when the opera is usually dark, there will be more performances of Puccini’s La Bohème, Bizet’s Carmen, and Verdi’s La Traviata.
For scheduling reasons, the revival of Berg’s Lulu, originally planned to open March 5, has been canceled, and will be replaced by additional performances of Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, featuring soprano Brenda Rae, who is switching from the title role of Lulu to her Met role debut as Rosina, with bass-baritone Adam Plachetka as Figaro. Tickets to these newly added February performances will go on sale to the general public on Monday, June 22, and further casting will be announced in the coming weeks.
The Met's last performance was on March 11 and has lost about $100 million in revenues, according to The New York Times. The closure is its longest interruption in more than a century.
"We are hopeful in the winter that starting December 31, there will be a medical solution and the Met will continue its performances at that time," Gelb said. "In the troubled state of the world today, people certainly need the relief and happiness and solace the grand opera brings to them. For now we'll be streaming and in the winter we'll be performing again."
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