Reviews: What Did Critics Think of El Niño at the Metropolitan Opera? | Playbill

Classic Arts News Reviews: What Did Critics Think of El Niño at the Metropolitan Opera?

Lileana Blain-Cruz's production of John Adams' opera-oratorio opened April 23.

Julia Bullock and J'Nai Bridges in the Metropolitan Opera's El Niño Evan Zimmerman

The Metropolitan Opera premiere of El Niño opened April 23 — and the reviews are in!

Tony nominee Lileana Blain-Cruz (The Skin of Our Teeth) makes her Met debut directing John Adams' nativity opera-oratorio. Like Handel's Messiah, its predecessor in the genre, El Niño uses text from the King James Bible. Unlike MessiahEl Niño also utilizes assorted biblical apocrypha, as well as secular texts in English, Spanish, and Latin, to aid in the telling of the story of the nativity. The production marks the Met debut of Grammy award–winning soprano Julia Bullock who leads a cast which also includes mezzo-soprano J'Nai Bridges, baritone Davóne Tines, and countertenors Key'mon W. Murrah, Siman Chung, and Eric Jurenas. Conductor Marin Alsop also makes her Met debut with the production.

Read the reviews here.

BroadwayWorld (Richard Sasanow)
Financial Times (George Grella)
New York Classical Review (Rick Perdian)
The New York Times (Oussama Zahr)*
OperaWire (Jennifer Pyron)
The Philadelphia Inquirer (David Patrick Stearns)
The Wall Street Journal (Heidi Waleson)*

*This review may require creating a free account or a paid subscription.

Playbill will continue to update this list as reviews come in.

Lileana Blain-Cruz leads a team which includes scenic designer Adam Rigg, costume designer Montana Levi Blanco, lighting designer Yi Zhau, projection designer Hannah Wasileski, sound designer Mark Grey, puppet designer James Ortiz, and choreographer Marjani Forté-Saunders.

El Niño is the final new production of the Metropolitan Opera's 2023-24 season, and the fourth of four contemporary operas which received their Met premiere this season. The season continues through June 8 with revivals of recent contemporary hits, Terence Blanchard's Fire Shut Up in My Bones and Kevin Puts' The Hours, as well as repertory classics including Bizet's CarmenPuccini's Madama Butterfly and Turandot, and Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice.

Performances of El Niño run through May 17. For more information, visit

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