Rhinegold Photo credit: Rose Callahan / Met Opera

Katy Wright

Deputy Editor, Classical Music

Nézet-Séguin to take up Met role two seasons early

4:39, 15th February 2018

Yannick Nézet-Séguin will become music director of the Metropolitan Opera at the start of the 2018/19 season, two years ahead of schedule.

He will now conduct three operas and two Met Orchestra concerts at Carnegie Hall in the 2018/19 and 2019/20, instead of the two operas per season originally scheduled, and will conduct a minimum of five operas per season from 2020–21.

In addition to leading the new La Traviata and conducting two Carnegie Hall concerts, Nézet-Séguin will also lead revivals of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande and Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites.

The Neubauer Family Foundation, founding sponsors of the Met’sLive in HD transmissions to cinemas, has made a $15m gift to name the music director position in honour of Nézet-Séguin’s appointment. The position will be called the Jeanette Lerman-Neubauer Music Director, the first time in the history of the Met that the position has been named. Mrs Lerman-Neubauer is a member of the executive committee of the Met’s Board. Her husband, Joseph Neubauer, former chair and CEO of Aramark, is a well known philanthropist who is chair of the Board of Trustees at the University of Chicago and chair of the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia.

The Met’s 2018/19 season opens with Darko Tresnjak’s new production of Saint-Saëns’s Samson et Dalila, conducted by Sir Mark Elder, starring Roberto Alagna and Elīna Garanča in the title roles. Nico Muhly’s new opera Marnie will receive its North American premiere a few weeks later, conducted by Robert Spano, with Isabel Leonard in the title role. Marnie is directed by Michael Mayer, who is also responsible for a new La Traviata, conducted by Nézet-Séguin and starring Diana Damrau. The final new production is from Sir David McVicar: Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda, starring Anna Netrebko in the title role.

Because of the significant production demands and rehearsal time required by the revival of the Lepage Ring cycle, the Met is presenting only four new productions in 2018/19. The production, which will receive three cycles, beginning in March 2019, will return to the Met for the first time since 2013. It will be conducted by Philippe Jordan, with the cast including Christine Goerke as Brünnhilde, Eva-Maria Westbroek as Sieglinde, Stuart Skelton as Siegmund, Jamie Barton as Fricka, and Greer Grimsley and Michael Volle as Wotan.

In addition to the Ring, the season features 18 revivals, including Verdi’s Aida, with Anna Netrebko singing the title role for the first time at the Met; Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West, with Jonas Kaufmann starring opposite Eva-Maria Westbroek; and Verdi’s Otello, with Gustavo Dudamel making his Met conducting debut.

‘It is wonderful for the entire company that Yannick will assume his duties two seasons ahead of schedule,’ said general manager Peter Gelb. ‘The orchestra loves him, the chorus loves him, everyone in the building loves him. He is a truly great artist under whom the Met will only thrive.’

Describing himself as ‘honoured’ to be appointed, Nézet-Séguin said: ‘I’m eager to continue to collaborate with the Met Orchestra, Chorus, and administration to keep the Met’s artistic standards at the highest level, and to amplify the great work the company already does to reach new audiences and ensure the future of the art form.’

Nézet-Séguin has been music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra since 2012 (where he will remain until at least summer 2026) and artistic director and principal conductor of the Orchestre Métropolitain (Montreal) since 2000. He is in his tenth and final season as music director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.


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