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Metropolitan Opera 2016-17 Season Preview: Anna Netrebko's Manon Lescaut and Nina Stemme's Tristan und Isolde Among Six Operas to See this Season

First Posted: Sep 09, 2016 07:31 AM EDT
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Tristan Und Isolde

Photo : Kristian Schuller

In two weeks the Metropolitan Opera will open in 2016-17 season with many of the greatest singers in the world gracing the legendary stage. The season will offer some of the great classics of the operatic repertory as well as some very rare works. It will also offer numerous questions as to which operas must be seen.

Opera audiences should definitely put Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin," Bellini's "I Puritani," Verdi's "La Traviata" and Massenet's "Werther" on their calendar. They will offer some of the top artists singing today with some of the most acclaimed productions at the Met. However, the following is a list of the six must-see operas of this season.

"Tristan Und Isolde"

Every time Wagner's masterpiece is presented at the Met is always special. The opera has not graced the stage since 2008 when Katarina Dalayman and Waltraud Meier shared the role of Isolde. This year Nina Stemme will bring her acclaimed interpretation of Isolde after receiving raves for her "Elektra" in Strauss' opera last spring. She will star in the new production by Mariusz Trelinski, which premiered at the Baden Baden festival to great reviews. It will also marks a rare appearance by Sir Simon Rattle leading the Met orchestra. The supporting cast is also formidable as it also stars Stuart Skelton in the role of Tristan, Rene Pape as King Marke and Ekaterina Gubanova as Brangane.

"Manon Lescaut"

It may not be a new production and it will not be getting the HD treatment. However, after proving herself in the Verdi repertoire and releasing a critically acclaimed Verismo album, it is clear that Anna Netrebko's "Manon" is something that can not be missed. The soprano has already made the role a signature performing it to acclaim in Rome, Salzburg and Vienna and showing audiences she was born to sing the iconic Puccini role. With the Met reviving Richard Eyre's production Netrebko is likely to once again triumph in the role. Dramatic soprano Kristine Opolais will alternate her acclaimed interpretation.

"Jenufa"

It's not everyday that the Met revives an opera by Janacek. However, this revival will be special as it marks the return of the great dramatic soprano Karita Mattila. The soprano has not sung at the Met since 2012 when she was heralded for her masterful turn in Janacek's "The Makropulos Case." While this year she will not perform the lead role of "Jenufa," a role she portrayed at the Met over a decade ago, this season she brings her acclaimed interpretation of Kostelnička. The revival will also star Oksana Dyka and will be conducted by David Robertson.

"Der Rosenkavalier"

Strauss' most popular opera will be getting a new production by Robert Carson in what is said to be Renee Fleming's farewell production at the Met. Fleming first performed the role of the Countess with the Met Opera in 2001 in Japan and later performed it in 2009 for a critically acclaimed revival of Nathaniel Merrill's production. The occasion will also be special as Elina Garanca will sing the role of Octavian for the last time in her career. The two divas will be joined by Erin Morley and Matthew Polenzani under the direction of Sebastian Weigle.

"Rusalka"

The Met will revive Dvorak's masterpiece in a new production by Mary Zimmerman that is packed with an all-star cast. Kristine Opolais will bring the role that garnered her universal attention in the opera world to the Met for the first time. Opolais has made Puccini her signature composer at the Met and this will be the first time audiences hear her in something very different. She will be joined by Richard Tucker and Cardiff Singer of the World winner Jamie Barton and acclaimed tenor Brandon Jovanovich. Luxury casting will see the return of Katarina Dalayman in the short but crucial role of the Foreign Princess and Eric Owen will portray the Water Sprite.

"Romeo et Juliette"

In 2015 Diana Damrau and Vittorio Grigolo showcased an intense chemistry in the revival of Massenet's "Manon." Audiences went wild after their steamy Saint Suplice and this year the Met will reunite them for Gounod's "Romeo et Juliette." Starring in Bartlett Sher's production, Damrau will debut the role of Juliette while Grigolo will revive the interpretation that he has sung all over the world. The two will be conducted by Gianandrea Noseda and will be joined by Mikhail Petrenko.

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