The MET Live in HD Season 2017-18: Seriously?

SERIOUSLY??? This is the best word I can find to describe the programme of the 2017-18 HD Series! This is gonna be the dullest season in the Met broadcast history!!! That's a pity! I don't wanna be too harsh but as a Met fan I'm very disapрointed...But let's try to look at the bright side: we have some established hits like "La Boheme" or "L'elisir d'amore" and there are some rarely performed pieces like "Semiramide" and "Cendrillon"...You may ask me: "then why are you so upset?". And I can explain. In comparison with what we've had over the last five years when almost every production made you have goose bumps about what and who you were gonna see on stage...this time frankly I am not as excited as I usually was. Maybe during the season I'll change my mind...who knows?:). Now let's move on to the very programme!
October 7 - Bellini “Norma”
This is a new production directed by David McVicar, starring Sondra Radvanovsky, Joseph Calleja and Joyce DiDonato. I've never listened to this opera before and the cast looks very promising, so this version of Bellini's masterpiece is worth watching at least for these reasons.

October 14 - Mozart “Die Zauberflöte”
You may know that "The magic flute" has been broadcasted earlier but in the shortened English version. This bright and colourful production has been teasing me for a long time. I'm very glad that this season we're going to hear the original score in German under the baton of Maestro James Levine! Some performers are totally new to me but we also have a few familiar faces such as Rene Pape and Charles Castronovo.

November 18 - Adès “The Exterminating Angel”
I'm trying to be more open to operas of the 21st century. Even though my earlier experiences in that matter have been 50/50, I wanna give "The Angel" a chance. The composer himself will conduct his own opera which is based on the plot of the Spanish blach-and-white movie of 1962.

January 27 - Puccini “Tosca”
I'm so, so happy that the Met will stage a new production of this great opera!!! Cause the previous one didn't appeal to most of the opera fans (including me). This is one of the few productions of the season I'm thrilled to bits about!!! David McVicar is responsible for the staging. I'm very grateful to the Met for making "Tosca" in the original settings cause it's one of such operas where the sets play an important part in the plot. To my mind, it's wrong when directors decide to throw it all away in order to make this opera more modern or more appealing to the masses.The first cast included Kristine Opolais, Jonas Kaufmann and Bryn Terfel. And we couldn't be happier! But then as it sometimes happens there were two withdrawals and now instead of Opolais and Kaufmann we have Sonya Yoncheva and Vittorio Grigolo. Besides, Andris Nelsons has been replaced by Levine. The opinions about it are different but as for me I'd really want to see the trio "Opolais-Kaufmann-Terfel" as all of them are good not only as singers but as actors! I'm not very familiar with Yoncheva's acting skills as I haven't seen her performances a lot but Grigolo is a good catch, let us hope that altogether it'll work very well:). By the way, many opera lovers are disapponted by the fact that Anna Netrebko (who was the headliner of many HD seasons) is not going to appear in the HD programme and in the transmission of "Tosca" in particular. I hope that the Met will give us at least some video extracts with her.

February 10 - Donizetti “L’Elisir d’Amore”
A very smart and funny production by Bartlett Sher. The cast is pretty good (Pretty Yende, Matthew Polenzani, Ildebrando D’Arcangelo) but it doesn't attract me very much that's why I'm more likely to skip it.

February 24 - Puccini “La Bohème” 
It's one of my favorite operas, nevertheless, I don't really see the point in broadcasting the same production (even if it's a great one) again and again with different casts! Sonya Yoncheva, Susanna Phillips and Michael Fabiano will star in "La Boheme" this time. I love this opera, but I'd prefer to see something new in HD season.

March 10 - Rossini “Semiramide”
This rare Rossini guest is a must-see for sure! At least look at the cast sheet: Angela Meade, Javier Camarena, Ildar Abdrazakov and Maurizio Benini in the pit!!! It would be even more perfect if Joyce DiDonato took on the title role (cause I adore her in Rossini repertoire) and the production was new but anyway we just can't miss it!

March 31 - Mozart “Così fan tutte” 
I was really looking forward to a new production of this hilarious opera until I saw the video trailer. Phelim McDermott's concept of Coney Island show (where the action will take place) bothers me very much and I have a lot of doubts how it will work with music and libretto...we'll see... Among the artists we have Amanda Majeski, Serena Malfi, Adam Platchetka, Christopher Maltman... good cast but not the great one.

April 14 - Verdi “Luisa Miller”
Supposed to be the new staging by Calixto Bieito but, Thank God, it's not! One day I looked through the photos of his works and I was shocked and not in a good way! So whatever reasons are behind these changes, I'm very glad we won't see Bieito's production on the Met stage. Plácido Domingo, Sonya Yoncheva and Piotr Beczala promise us an interesting performance that is worth listening to and watching! And it's the third HD production with Yoncheva in the main role which makes me think: "Is Yoncheva close on Netrebko's heels?". In recent seasons she is obviously starting to take a place of the leading soprano at the Met. As I mentioned I haven't heard Yoncheva a lot (I don't even know why it is so) but now I guess I have to fill this gap urgently!:).

April 28 - Massenet “Cendrillon”
The Met's premiere with Joyce DiDonato in the leading part sounds awesome, doesn't it? Another HD transmission I'm eager to watch!!! It's a co-production with Royal Opera House staged by Laurent Pelly. I've never heard this opera before and I'm very intrigued by the music and the photos I've seen, I hope I will be satisfied by the performance too!

By and large, judging from the casts and directors, I have to say it's an ordinary and calm season with just one breakout production - "Tosca", other things are going to be more or less interesting. But of course, the real conclusion we'll be able to make at the end of this HD season:).

P. S. What do you think about the upcoming Met Live in HD season? What productions are you mostly anticipated to see? Don't hesitate to leave comments below:)

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