26 February 2007

Met to announce 2007-08 season tomorrow ...

... but a number of details have already leaked. No real surprise to anyone devoted to Brad Wilber's indispensable Met Future Seasons site. Most interesting is the possibility of a Met tour in China, with Tan Dun's First Emperor, to coincide with the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Speaking of Tan's opera, the AP article plainly states why it's replacing Picker's An American Tragedy in the schedule:

As part of a late change to the 2007-8 schedule ... Met general manager Peter Gelb substituted a revival of "The First Emperor" in place of a revival of Tobias Picker's "An American Tragedy" for the spring part of the season.

"The First Emperor" had its world premiere in December at the Met. While most reviews were mixed to negative, the run sold out.

In other words, $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. The other piece of new information concerns the continuing Met simulcasts:
The Met is continuing its program of high-definition simulcasts to movie theaters for the second straight season, with the operas to be televised later on PBS stations. Next year's high-definition schedule includes Gounod's "Romeo et Juliette" (Dec. 15); "Hansel and Gretel" (Jan. 1); Verdi's "Macbeth" (Jan. 12); Puccini's "Manon Lescaut" (Feb. 16); Britten's "Peter Grimes" (March 15); Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde" (March 22); Puccini's "La Boheme" (April 5); and "Le Fille du Regiment" (April 26).
Quite a curious list. Some initial observations: (1) Despite doing two major revivals (Otello and Traviata), Fleming doesn't get a movie; (2) Macbeth and Peter Grimes may be tough sells, with less than stellar casts, as compared to the rest (Netrebko/Villazon; Mattila/Giordani; Voigt/Heppner; Gheorghiu/Vargas; Dessay/Florez). It would be interesting to see how Hansel and Gretel will be marketed; (3) A total of eight simulcasts, up from this season's six. A good sign. (4) And wow, a five-hour cinespectacular called Tristan und Isolde. This is also a major step. Looking ahead, the Ring is scheduled for the following season; I will bet half the value of this blog (currently B$17,236.09) that our dear four-part saga will be simulcast too.