Zimmerman, Noble, Doyle, Etc. to Direct Operas at the Met

Theatre directors Mary Zimmerman, Adrian Noble, Richard Jones and John Doyle will be among those staging operas at the Met during the opera company's 2007-2008 season.

Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor launches the Met's 2007-08 season on September 24 in a new production by Tony Award-winning theater artist Mary Zimmerman (Metamorphoses), who makes her Met debut. Conducted by James Levine, Lucia stars Natalie Dessay as the tragic Scottish maiden. Annick Massis sings the title role in some performances; Marcello Giordani and Giuseppe Filianoti share the role of Lucia's lover, Edgardo; Mariusz Kwiecien is her scheming brother Enrico; and John Relyea is the compassionate Raimondo. Joining Zimmerman on the production team are Daniel Ostling, set designer; Mara Blumenfeld, costume designer; T.J. Gerckens, lighting designer; and Daniel Pelzig, choreographer – all in their Met debuts.

Debuting director Adrian Noble (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) explores Verdi's affinity for Shakespeare in the new production of Macbeth, which opens on October 22, conducted by James Levine. The ambitious couple is portrayed by baritone Željko Luèiæ and soprano Andrea Gruber. Lado Ataneli and Carlos Alvarez sing the title role at later performances. John Relyea and René Pape share the role of the doomed Banquo, while Dimitri Pittas, Roberto Aronica, and Joseph Calleja alternate as the heroic Macduff. Mark Thompson designs the sets and costumes and Jean Kalman the lighting. Sue Lefton makes her Met debut as choreographer.

Gluck's final operatic masterwork, Iphigénie en Tauride, returns to the Met on November 27 for the first time since 1917, in a new production by Stephen Wadsworth, whose staging of Rodelinda at the Met in 2004 was a sell-out success. French conductor Louis Langrée, Music Director of the Mostly Mozart Festival, makes his Met debut; Susan Graham, who has won international acclaim in the title role, sings opposite Plácido Domingo, who adds the role of Oreste to his astounding repertory, with Paul Groves as Pylade. The production, which uses the version of the score that Gluck wrote for Vienna in 1781, has sets designed by Thomas Lynch, costumes by Martin Pakledinaz, lighting by Neil Peter Jampolis, and choreography by Daniel Pelzig. A co-production with Seattle Opera, Iphigénie en Tauride premieres there with a different cast on October 13.

The new production of Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel, the second in the Met's annual series of special holiday presentations, premieres on December 24. In their Met debuts, Richard Jones (Wrong Mountain, Titanic), the director, and John Macfarlane, the set and costume designer, bring out the dark underpinnings of the classic fairy tale, presented in an English-language version by David Pountney. Vladimir Jurowski conducts a cast that includes Christine Schäfer and Alice Coote in the title roles, with Philip Langridge as the Witch. Jennifer Tipton is the lighting designer, and Linda Dobell creates the choreography. This new production is based on one originally created for the Welsh National Opera and the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Peter Grimes, Benjamin Britten's probing exploration of the nature of guilt and judgment, returns to the Met on February 28 in a new production by John Doyle, recent winner of a Tony Award for Sweeney Todd. Doyle, his set designer, Scott Pask, and his costume designer, Ann Hould-Ward, are all making their Met debuts in this modern masterpiece, with lighting by Peter Mumford. Donald Runnicles conducts a cast that includes Neil Shicoff and Anthony Dean Griffey sharing one of 20th-century opera's most impressive tenor roles, Patricia Racette as the kindhearted Ellen Orford, and Anthony Michaels-Moore as Balstrode.

Composer Philip Glass's landmark 1980 opera, Satyagraha, has its Met premiere on April 11 in a co-production with English National Opera, where it opens in April 2007. In their Met debuts, director Phelim McDermott and associate director and designer Julian Crouch (artistic directors of London's provocative Improbable theater company) use improvisational puppetry, achieved by a team of aerialists, to illuminate Mahatma Gandhi's formative experiences in South Africa. Tenor Richard Croft portrays Gandhi in Glass's opera, which is set to text from the ancient Sanskrit scripture, the Bhagavad Gita. Dante Anzolini makes his Met debut as conductor, and Rachelle Durkin, Earle Patriarco, and Alfred Walker complete the cast. This will be the second Glass opera produced by the Met; his The Voyage, based on Christopher Columbus's journey to America, was commissioned by the Met and had its world premiere in 1992.

A co-production with the Royal Opera and Vienna State Opera, Donizetti's La Fille du Régiment, starring Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Flórez, became the hit of Covent Garden's current season. It joins the Met repertory on April 21, 2008 with the same two leads, as the final new production of the season. The production, by a debuting team that includes director and costume designer Laurent Pelly, set designer Chantal Thomas, lighting designer Joël Adam, and choreographer Laura Scozzi, received rave reviews in London.  Marco Armiliato conducts, with Barry Banks sharing the role of Tonio with Mr. Flórez, Felicity Palmer as the Marquise, Alessandro Corbelli as Sulpice, and four-time Tony Award-winner Zoe Caldwell in the speaking role of the Duchess of Krakenthorp.

Visit www.metopera.org for more information.

Photo of John Doyle by Linda Lenzi


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