Jeanine Tesori’s Grounded to Open The Metropolitan Opera's 2024-25 Season | Playbill

Classic Arts News Jeanine Tesori’s Grounded to Open The Metropolitan Opera's 2024-25 Season

The New York institution will also stage house premieres of Moby-Dick, Antony and Cleopatra, and Ainadamar in the coming season.

Emily D'Angelo in Jeanine Tesori's Grounded Paola Kudacki / Met Opera

The Metropolitan Opera has announced its 2024-25 season, which will include four Met premieres, new productions of Aida and Salome, and 12 revivals from the company’s repertoire.

The season will open September 23 with Jeanine Tesori’s Grounded, based on the play of the same name by George Brant, who also penned the opera’s libretto. The opera had its world premiere at Washington National Opera this past fall, in a production directed by Tony winner Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening). Mezzo-soprano Emily D'Angelo stars as Jess, a fighter pilot who is grounded due to an unexpected pregnancy, and subsequently reassigned to piloting lethal drones remotely. The cast, expanded from Brant's one-woman play, also includes tenor Ben Bliss. Met music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin will conduct.

The Met premieres will continue in October with Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar. The opera, with a libretto by Tony winner David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly), is based on the life of poet Federico García Lorca, who was arrested and executed by the Falange during the Spanish Civil War because of his politics and his sexuality. Mezzo-soprano Daniela Mack plays Lorca, who is brought to life in the memories of actress Margarita Xirgu, a role shared by sopranos Angel Blue and Gabriella Reyes. Soprano Elena Villalón plays Xirgu’s student Nuria, and Flamenco singer Alfredo Tejada plays the Falangist politician Ramón Ruiz Alonso. Miguel Harth-Bedoya conducts the production by director-choreographer Deborah Colker, both making their Met debuts.

The spring season will see the Met premieres of Jake Heggie’s Moby-Dick, and John Adams’ Antony and Cleopatra, based respectively on the Melville novel and Shakespeare play.

Moby-Dick, opening in March, will be directed by Leonard Foglia in his Met debut, and conducted by Karen Kamensek. Tenor Brandon Jovanovich stars as Captain Ahab, with tenor Stephen Costello as Greenhorn, the opera’s version of Ishmael. The cast also includes baritone Peter Mattei as Starbuck, bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Green as Queequeg, soprano Janai Brugger as Pip, tenor William Burden as Flask, and baritone Malcolm Mackenzie as Stubb.

Antony and Cleopatra, opening in May, will be directed by Elkhanah Pulitzer, also making her Met debut, and conducted by the composer. Soprano Julia Bullock, who makes her Met debut this season in Adams’ El Niño, will star as Cleopatra opposite baritone Gerald Finley as Antony. The cast also includes tenor Paul Appleby as Caesar, mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong as Octavia, mezzo-soprano Taylor Raven as Charmian, tenor Brenton Ryan as Eros, and bass-baritone Alfred Walker as Enobarbus.

Adams’ Antony and Cleopatra is the second opera based on the play to be performed at the Met. Samuel Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra was the inaugural production of the new Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center in 1966. Both Barber’s and Adams’ operas use Shakespeare’s text for the libretto, but Adams supplements Shakespeare with passages from Plutarch, Virgil, and others.

The Met will ring in the new year with a new production of Verdi’s Aida, helmed by Michael Mayer. The production, originally planned for the 2020-21 season, will finally come to the stage of the Met starring soprano Angel Blue as Aida, with Christina Nilsson taking over the role later in the run. Mezzo-sopranos Judit Kutasi, who will make her Met debut next week in La Forza del Destino, and Elīna Garanča share the role of Amneris, the Egyptian princess who is Aida’s rival for the love of the soldier Radames, played by tenors Piotr Beczała and Brian Jagde. Over the course of the run, Aida’s father Amonasro will be played by Quinn Kelsey, Amartuvshin Enkhbat, Michael Chioldi, and Eric Owens.

Rounding out the new productions is Richard StraussSalome, directed by Claus Guth, making his Met debut. Soprano Elza van den Heever will star as the Princess of Judea, who courts disaster when she becomes smitten with the prophet Jochanaan, who is being held prisoner by her father King Herod. Baritone Peter Mattei plays Jochanaan, and tenors Gerhard Siegel and Chad Shelton share the role of the king. Mezzo-soprano Michele DeYoung as Herodias, and tenor Piotr Buszewski as the guard Narraboth round out the principal cast. Yannick Nézet-Séguin will conduct.

Salome is just one of two Strauss roles—and Strauss royals—which Elza van den Heever will sing this season, as she will also play the Empress in a revival of the rarely-seen Die Frau Ohne Schatten (The Woman Without a Shadow) last seen at the Met in 2013. The epic fairy-tale opera tells the Little Mermaid-esque story of a magical spirit who, after marrying a mortal Emperor, must acquire a shadow within three days or be forced to leave the human world and return to the spirit realm. The cast also includes sopranos Nina Stemme and Lise Lindstrom, tenor Russell Thomas, baritone Michael Volle, and bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Green. Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts.

Soprano Lise Davidsen will sing the role of Leonore in a revival of Fidelio, the sole opera by Ludwig van Beethoven, conducted by Susanna Mälkki. The opera, which blends comedic and dramatic elements, follows Leonore as she tracks down her unjustly-imprisoned husband Florestan, and disguises herself as a man, using the name Fidelio, to enter the employ of the jailer and break her husband out of prison. She will be joined by tenor David Butt Philip as Florestan, bass René Pape as Rocco, the jailer, soprano Ying Fang as Marzelline, Rocco’s daughter who takes a liking to Fidelio, and bass-baritone Tomasz Konieczny as Don Pizzaro, the nobleman who orders Florestan’s imprisonment.

With a revival of Il Barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville), Rossini will return to the Met for the first time since a run of Semiramide in 2018, since a planned 2020 revival of La Cenerentola was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although one of the most popular comic operas in the repertoire, Il Barbiere di Siviglia has not been seen at the Met since 2017, which, even adjusting for the pandemic, has been its longest absence from the Met stage since a six-year gap between February 1976 and February 1982.

For Barbiere’s return to the Met stage, the company will reunite acclaimed Rossini singers Isabel Leonard and Lawrence Brownlee, who starred together in this production by Bartlett Sher in 2014. They will share the roles with mezzo-soprano Aigul Akhmetshina, fresh off of her recent star turn as Carmen, and tenor Jack Swanson, making his Met debut. Baritones Davide Luciano and Andrey Zhilikhovsky will share the role of the titular barber Figaro, with Giacomo Sagripanti making his Met debut conducting.

If you can’t get enough of that rascally barber Figaro, you’re in luck, as Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) will be revived as well, with bass-baritones Michel Sumuel and Luca Pisaroni sharing the title role, and Joana Mallwitz conducting in her Met debut. Sopranos Olga Kulchynska and Rosa Feola play Susanna, Figaro’s bride-to-be. Although written by different composers and librettists decades apart, Barbiere and Nozze are based on two plays from a trilogy by Pierre Beaumarchais, and share a common cast of characters. As both operas will be revived concurrently, keen opera-goers will have an opportunity to see them in succession.

Bryn Terfel will return to the Met for the first time in over a decade, playing Baron Scarpia in Puccini’s Tosca. Terfel was to have played the role when this production by David McVicar premiered at the Met in 2017, but he withdrew due to illness. In 2020, Terfel was scheduled to make his Met return in a new production of Der fliegende Holländer, but again withdrew, this time due to an ankle injury. If all goes well this time, Terfel will take the stage opposite soprano Sondra Radvanovsky and tenor Brian Jagde reuniting as Tosca and Cavaradossi. This dynamic trio will be preceded in the run by sopranos Aleksandra Kurzak and Lise Davidsen as Tosca, tenors SeokJong Baek and Freddie De Tomaso as Cavaradossi, and baritones George Gagnidze and Quinn Kelsey as Scarpia.

Soprano Kathryn Lewek, who has sung the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte at the Met more than any other performer in house history, will shore up her lead as she reprises the role, both in the Met’s holiday production, abridged and presented in English as The Magic Flute, directed by Julie Taymor, and, later in the season, in a revival of Simon McBurney’s production of the full-length German version. This marks a notable instance of the company presenting two different versions and productions of the same opera within a single season.

The 2024-25 season will also include revivals of Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Verdi’s Rigoletto and Il Trovatore, Puccini’s La Bohème, and Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades. Artists appearing in these productions will include Angela Meade, Erin Morley, Nadine Sierra, Rachel Willis-Sørensen, Pretty Yende, Sonya Yoncheva, Jamie Barton, Matthew Polenzani, Luca Salsi, Christian Van Horn, and many more.

The 2024-25 Met: Live in HD series includes screenings of Les Contes d’Hoffmann (October 5), Grounded (October 19), Tosca (November 23), Aida (January 25, 2025), Fidelio (March 15, 2025), Le Nozze di Figaro (April 26, 2025), Salome (May 17, 2025), and Il Barbiere di Siviglia (May 31, 2025).

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