A bright spot for opera fans in otherwise dreary, wintry Toronto is the announcements by various opera companies their upcoming season. And when you can’t be there in person, the next best thing is to see the show in the cinema, especially when it’s transmitted live.
When it comes to seeing operas live in the movie houses here in Canada, you can’t beat the Met Opera Live in HD, presented by Cineplex. The 2019-20 season will be the 14th season of showing Met Opera at your local cinema. I still remember that first transmission, the abridged, English language The Magic Flute in December 2006. It caught the public’s imagination, and the annual lineup of Met in HD has grown by leaps and bounds.
The 2019-20 season features a lineup of 10 operas and five new productions. There’s something for every taste — a mix of old and the new, war horses as well as 21st-century works. Productions range from the ultra-opulent Zeffirelli Turandot (Oct. 12) starring American dramatic soprano Christine Goerke, to minimalist Philip Glass’s Akhnaten, a Met premiere.
Puccini is well represented — in addition to Turandot, we’ll get Tosca starring Russian superstar Anna Netrebko, and Madama Butterfly with Chinese soprano Hui He, not to mention the redoubtable Placido Domingo as Sharpless. French opera fans will love the revival of Massenet’s Manon in the fabulous production by Laurent Pelly, starring Lisette Oropesa and Michael Fabiano as the pair of lovers. This opera also marks the belated Met debut of Canadian baritone Brett Polegato.
Elsewhere, there’s the obligatory Bel Canto in Maria Stuarda; Wagner fans get a new production of Der fliegende Hollander with the great Bryn Terfel as Dutchman no less. Canada’s own Yannick Nezet-Seguin, in his second year as Met’s Music Director, will be at the helm of the 20th-century masterpiece, Wozzeck. And there’ll be a new production of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess starring Angel Blue and Golda Schultz, two of the most beautiful soprano voices of today.
Consider that there are only 10 productions, something has to give. Unfortunately no Russian opera this year and no Richard Strauss. Perhaps the most surprising is an absence of Verdi, but as they say, you can’t please everybody. I, for one, am really looking forward to the new season.
The Met: Live in HD 2019–20 Schedule
Turandot (Giacomo Puccini) REVIVAL / October 12, 2019, at 12:55 PM ET
Conductor: Yannick Nézet-Séguin / Production: Franco Zeffirelli
Cast: Christine Goerke (Turandot), Eleonora Buratto (Liù), Roberto Aronica (Calàf), James Morris (Timur)
Manon (Jules Massenet) REVIVAL / October 26, 2019, at 12:55PM ET
Conductor: Maurizio Benini / Production: Laurent Pelly
Cast: Lisette Oropesa (Manon), Michael Fabiano (Chevalier des Grieux), Carlo Bosi (Guillot de Morfontaine), Artur Ruciński (Lescaut), Brett Polegato (de Brétigny), Kwangchul Youn (Comte des Grieux)
Madama Butterfly (Giacomo Puccini) REVIVAL / November 9, 2019, at 12:55 PM ET
Conductor: Pier Giorgio Morandi / Production: Anthony Minghella
Cast: Hui He (Cio-Cio-San), Elizabeth DeShong (Suzuki), Andrea Carè (Pinkerton), Plácido Domingo (Sharpless)
Akhnaten (Philip Glass) MET PREMIERE /FIRST TIME IN HD / November 23, 2019, at 12:55 PM ET
Conductor: Karen Kamensek / Production: Phelim McDermott
Cast: Dísella Lárusdóttir (Queen Tye), J’Nai Bridges (Nefertiti), Anthony Roth Costanzo (Akhnaten), Aaron Blake (High Priest of Amon), Will Liverman (Horemhab), Richard Bernstein (Aye), Zachary James (Amenhotep)
Wozzeck (Alban Berg) NEW PRODUCTION /FIRST TIME IN HD / January 11, 2020, at 12:55 PM ET
Conductor: Yannick Nézet-Séguin / Production: William Kentridge
Cast: Elza van den Heever (Marie), Tamara Mumford (Margret), Christopher Ventris (The Drum-Major), Gerhard Siegel (The Captain), Andrew Staples (Andres), Peter Mattei (Wozzeck), Christian Van Horn (Doctor)
Porgy and Bess (Gershwin, DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, Ira Gershwin) NEW PRODUCTION /FIRST TIME IN HD / February 1, 2020, at 12:55 PM ET
Conductor: David Robertson / Production: James Robinson
Cast: Angel Blue (Bess), Golda Schultz (Clara), Latonia Moore (Serena), Denyce Graves (Maria), Frederick Ballentine (Sportin’ Life), Eric Owens (Porgy), Alfred Walker (Crown), Donovan Singletary (Jake)
Agrippina (George Frideric Handel) MET PREMIERE /FIRST TIME IN HD / February 29, 2020, at 12:55 PM ET
Conductor: Harry Bicket / Production: Sir David McVicar
Cast: Brenda Rae (Poppea), Joyce DiDonato (Agrippina), Kate Lindsey (Nerone), Iestyn Davies (Ottone), Duncan Rock (Pallante), Matthew Rose (Claudio)
Der Fliegende Holländer (Richard Wagner) NEW PRODUCTION /FIRST TIME IN HD / March 14, 2020, at 12:55 PM ET
Conductor: Valery Gergiev / Production: François Girard
Cast: Anja Kampe (Senta), Mihoko Fujimura (Mary), Sergey Skorokhodov (Erik), David Portillo (Steuermann), Sir Bryn Terfel (Holländer), Franz-Josef Selig (Daland)
Tosca (Giacomo Puccini) REVIVAL / April 11, 2020, at 12:55PM ET
Conductor: Bertrand de Billy / Production: Sir David McVicar
Cast: Anna Netrebko (Tosca), Brian Jagde (Cavaradossi), Michael Volle (Scarpia), Patrick Carfizzi (Sacristan)
Maria Stuarda (Gaetano Donizetti) REVIVAL / May 9, 2020, at 12:55PM ET
Conductor: Maurizio Benini / Production: Sir David McVicar
Cast: Diana Damrau (Maria Stuarda), Jamie Barton (Elisabetta), Stephen Costello (Leicester), Andrzej Filończyk (Cecil), Michele Pertusi (Talbot)