The Met Opera’s New Season: What We Want to See

The Met Opera’s New Season: What We Want to See

Contemporary works will be front and center in the coming season, the Metropolitan Opera announced on Wednesday, with four company premieres among its six new productions.

The 2024-25 season will open in September with “Grounded,” about the toll of drone warfare, by Jeanine Tesori and George Brant, and will also feature the modern works “Moby-Dick,” by Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer; “Ainadamar,” by Osvaldo Golijov and David Henry Hwang and “Antony and Cleopatra,” by John Adams. It will be the fifth opera by Adams that the Met has presented, putting him in the same category as Tchaikovsky and Bellini.

There will also be new stagings of Verdi’s “Aida” and Strauss’s “Salome.” Among the dozen revivals planned for the season are Verdi’s “Rigoletto” and “Il Trovatore,” Puccini’s “Tosca” and “La Bohème,” and Offenbach’s “Les Contes d’Hoffmann,” as well as two versions of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute”: the full-length, original in German, directed by Simon McBurney, and a one-act, English adaptation that has become a holiday staple at the Met.

The lineup is part of the house’s efforts to attract new audiences by embracing contemporary operas, which are outselling many of the classics. The Met is still grappling with headwinds as it works to recover from the pandemic. In January, the company said it had withdrawn nearly $40 million in additional emergency funds from its endowment to help cover operating expenses.

Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager, said in an interview that the new season reflected the “artistic hopes and challenges and constraints that we face.”

“We have to be fiscally responsible,” he said. “At the same time, I think that what we’re offering really pushes immense artistic boundaries.”

The company’s cost-cutting means that some operas are being delayed. A sexy new staging of Handel’s “Semele” by the director Claus Guth, which was supposed to premiere next season, for example, will be moved to a future season, Gelb said.

Here are five highlights of the coming season, chosen by critics for The New York Times. JAVIER C. HERNÁNDEZ

This flamenco-inflected meditation on the life and work of the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca is ritualistic, dreamlike, sometimes even delirious. Golijov, the composer, fires Hwang’s libretto (translated into Spanish) with sensuous, raucous rhythms and colors. Deborah Colker’s stark production, which played at the Detroit Opera last year, aims for a middle ground between realism and symbolism. Miguel Harth-Bedoya, in his Met debut, conducts a cast that includes Angel Blue, Elena Villalón and Daniela Mack. Opens Oct. 15. ZACHARY WOOLFE

After a season-long absence, Richard Strauss’s operas return to the Met lineup. The company last performed “Die Frau Ohne Schatten,” a huge, esoteric, fantastical opera about the symbolic dimensions of marital conflict, in 2013, and now Yannick Nézet-Séguin tackles it with Elza van den Heever, Lise Lindstrom, Nina Stemme and Michael Volle. (Opens Nov. 29.) Nézet-Séguin teams up again with van den Heever for “Salome,” Strauss’s sensational one-act, in a new production by Claus Guth, opening April 29. OUSSAMA ZAHR

The soprano Lise Davidsen, who has one of those “she could sing the phone book” voices, undertakes two disparate assignments: the volatile diva of Puccini’s “Tosca” (alongside the tenor Freddie De Tommaso in his Met debut) and the steadfast wife of Beethoven’s “Fidelio.” Her voice has the power to spin the titanic vocal demands of Beethoven’s opera into lyrical gold, and she’ll be joined by Tomasz Konieczny, René Pape and the conductor Susanna Mälkki. Opens March 4. OUSSAMA ZAHR

When John Adams’s latest opera — a dense yet hurtling adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy — comes to the Met, it will look a bit different from when it last played in the United States, during its premiere run at San Francisco Opera in 2022. There, it was conducted by Eun Sun Kim and missing Julia Bullock, for whom the role of Cleopatra had been written. But this revival will star Bullock, with Adams in the pit to lead his revised score. Opens May 12. JOSHUA BARONE

The conductor Keri-Lynn Wilson corralled the forces of Shostakovich’s “Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk” at the Met in 2022, so it makes sense to bring her back for another sweeping opera: Tchaikovsky’s tale of love and obsession. The stars are the soprano Sonya Yoncheva, often powerful in passionate lyrical roles like Lisa, and the robust tenor Brian Jagde, in the daunting role of Hermann. Igor Golovatenko, Alexey Markov and, as a forbidding old countess, Violeta Urmana complete the cast. Opens May 23. ZACHARY WOOLFE

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