Metropolitan Opera Announces 2013-14 Season with an English Accent

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The Metropolitan Opera on Tuesday announced its 2013-14 season, which will feature six new productions – including two Met premieres – as well as 14 revivals. It will also mark the return of the injury-plagued James Levine to the Met podium for the first time in two years.

The season opens September 23 with Anna Netrebko starring in her third consecutive Opening Night Gala, this time in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, a co-production with English National Opera, directed by Deborah Warner and conducted by Valery Gergiev.

The following month, David Robertson will conduct the New York premiere of Nico Muhly’s Two Boys, which received its world premiere in 2011 at English National Opera in London. The story of an ill-fated meeting in an online chat room will be directed by Bartlett Sher and star Alice Coote and Paul Appleby.

Another British import is scheduled for December 6, when Verdi’s Falstaff, a co-production between the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and La Scala makes its local debut. Robert Carsen’s production is updated to 1950’s England and stars Ambrogio Maestri and Nicola Alaimo in the role of Sir John Falstaff. Levine is to conduct.

Reviewing the London performance in 2012, Operavore’s Fred Plotkin wrote, "This Falstaff...was fresh, vibrant and relevant because its director, Robert Carsen, found resonance in the issue of social class distinctions and the behavior and customs that attend them.”

A new production of Johann Strauss’s comedy Die Fledermaus will serve as the season's New Year's Eve gala with one potential twist: it will feature new dialogue by director Jeremy Sams and playwright Douglas Carter Beane. The cast is to include Susanna Phillips as Rosalinde and Christopher Maltman as her husband, Eisenstein.

Borodin’s Prince Igor will get its first Met performances since 1917, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda and starring Ildar Abdrazakov in the title role. Dmitri Tcherniakov makes his Met directing debut with this production, although he has worked in the house before; his production of The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh for the Mariinsky Theater was seen at the 2003 Lincoln Center Festival.

A new staging of Massenet’s Werther, starring Jonas Kaufmann and Elīna Garanča, arrives March 15. Richard Eyre directs, continuing with the season heavy on English stage directors.

The Met’s 2013-14 season will feature 20 revivals, including a 1996 production of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in commemoration of the composer’s centennial. Berg’s Wozzeck returns under Levine’s baton, with Thomas Hampson and Deborah Voigt in the lead roles, as does Julie Taymor’s holiday presentation of The Magic Flute. Jane Glover is in the pit, marking a rare appearance by a woman conductor.

The Met will also broadcast 10 Saturday matinees live in high definition beginning with Eugene Onegin on Oct. 5.

As part of the season announcement, which was made without the customary press conference for the second year in a row, the Met said it would reduce ticket prices next season. The average cost of admission will drop by 10 percent, or to $156 from $174.

The company is also seeking to sell the benefits of subscriptions by pricing those tickets at a 15 percent discount over single-ticket sales for evening performances, and 10 percent for Saturday matinees. The discounts arrive after prices increased by an average of 10 percent this season, according to the New York Times.