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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

4 Takeaways From the Metropolitan Opera’s Dangerous Season

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The Met says that it noticed wholesome proof of recent ticket consumers for these works, and total gross sales are up from final season. However the programming pivot has not been a house run.

That mentioned, up to date opera isn’t single-handedly dragging the corporate down. Typically, the Met’s days of standard sellouts have been gone with the flip of the twenty first century. The season’s prime vendor, its grating family-friendly, holiday-season “Magic Flute,” offered 87 %, wonderful solely by comparability with the remaining; subsequent was “Carmen,” which was nearly 20 % empty.

Among the weakest-selling operas have been revivals of normal repertory works — although ones past core chestnuts like “La Bohème” and “Aida.” I’m speaking about titles like Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera,” Puccini’s “La Rondine,” Wagner’s “Tannhäuser” and Gluck’s “Orfeo ed Euridice,” all of which ended up shy of 70 % full.

Operas like these — recognized titles however not on the spot attracts — have to be persuasively solid, and never all of them have been. “La Rondine” was stiffly, charmlessly carried out by Angel Blue and Jonathan Tetelman. And whereas Mark Morris’s “Orfeo” manufacturing stays intelligent, the countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo sounded edgy and pressed within the title position.

If poor sellers are going to justify their existence, they have to be artistically significant. David Alden’s suggestively eerie staging of “Ballo” boasted Charles Castronovo, Angela Meade and, particularly, the commanding, smoky-toned baritone Quinn Kelsey. One other baritone, Christian Gerhaher, made a memorably poised Met debut as a part of a perfectly solid “Tannhäuser,” carried out by Donald Runnicles with each energy and nuance, grandeur and circulate. Each made a case for themselves, even when “Ballo” was solely about half full.

For connoisseurs nonetheless occupied with evaluating singers in the usual repertory, this season’s “Madama Butterfly” run introduced the childlike innocence of Aleksandra Kurzak and the mature tenacity of Asmik Grigorian — very totally different, each efficient. Lise Davidsen’s flooding soprano could also be higher suited to the hovering strains of Wagner and Strauss than to Verdian vulnerability, however she nonetheless married hugeness of tone to sensitivity in “La Forza del Destino.” The tenor Benjamin Bernheim was characteristically elegant because the Montague inheritor in “Roméo et Juliette.” The veteran mezzo-soprano Susan Graham gently commanded the stage as a demise row inmate’s mom in “Lifeless Man Strolling.”

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