Tony Nominees Lileana Blain-Cruz and Robert O'Hara to Make Met Opera Debuts in 2023-24 Season | Playbill

Classic Arts News Tony Nominees Lileana Blain-Cruz and Robert O'Hara to Make Met Opera Debuts in 2023-24 Season

The Metropolitan Opera's 2023-2024 season will also include new works directed by Tony winners Ivo van Hove and Mary Zimmerman.

Joyce DiDonato and Ryan McKinny in Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking Paola Kudacki / Met Opera

The Metropolitan Opera has announced its 2023-24 season, which will include four Met premieres, new productions of Carmen and La Forza Del Destino, and 12 revivals.

The season will open September 26 with Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking, based on Helen Prejean's memoir of the same name. The production, directed by Tony winner Ivo van Hove (A View From the Bridge), was originally scheduled to premiere in the 2020-2021 season before it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Van Hove is making his Met debut this spring with a new production of Don GiovanniDead Man Walking will star Joyce DiDonato as Sister Helen Prejean, Ryan McKinny as death-row inmate Joseph De Rocher, Latonia Moore as Sister Rose, and Susan Graham as De Rocher's mother. Met music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin will conduct.

The Met premieres continue in November with a new production of Anthony Davis's X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X directed by Robert O'Hara (Slave Play) in his Met debut. X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X will star Will Liverman in the title role, alongside soprano Leah Hawkins, mezzo-soprano Raehann Bryce-Davis, bass-baritone Michael Sumuel, and tenor Victor Ryan Robertson. Kazem Abdullah will conduct the production, opening November 3.

Tony winner Mary Zimmerman (Metamorphoses) will direct a new production of Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas, opening November 16. It will star soprano Ailyn Pérez as the titular Florencia, an enigmatic singer traveling incognito aboard a ship of passengers traveling to hear her sing. The cast will also include soprano Gabriella Reyes, bass-baritone Greer Grimsley, baritone Mattia Olivieri, tenor Mario Chang, mezzo-soprano Nancy Fabiola Herrera, and baritone Michael Chioldi. The production will be conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

These three operas will also mark the Met debuts of their respective composers.

The fourth and final Met premiere of the season will be El Niño, the Nativity opera-oratorio by composer John Adams, whose music hasn't been heard at the Met since The Death Of Klinghoffer in 2014. The production will be directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz (The Skin of Our Teeth), making her Met debut. Blain-Cruz reunites with The Skin Of Our Teeth set, costume, and lighting designers Adam Rigg, Montana Levi Blanco, and Yi Zhao, as well as puppet designer James Ortiz. The work will be conducted by Marin Alsop, and star soprano Julia Bullock and bass-baritone Davóne Tines. The production opens April 23, 2024.

New Year's Eve will see the premiere of a new production of Bizet's Carmen, directed by Carrie Cracknell in her Met debut. Mezzo-soprano Aigul Akhmetshina, who made her Met debut this past fall as Maddalena in Rigoletto, will play the title role, opposite tenor Piotr Beczala as Don José. Beczala is a mainstay at the Met, and is currently between appearances, having just completed this season's new production of Fedora, and is about to launch the second half of the season with a new production of Lohengrin. Completing the principal cast of Carmen will be soprano Angel Blue as Micaëla, and bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen as the bullfighter Escamillo. One of the most popular operas in the canon, Carmen contains some of opera's best-known tunes, including the famous "Habanera," and the Escamillo's "Votre toast," commonly known as the Toreador song.

Rounding out the new productions will be Mariusz Treliński’s staging of Verdi’s La Forza del Destino. Verdi's opera has not been seen on the Met stage since 2006. A production directed by Calixto Bieto has been planned as part of the Met's 2017-18 season, but was cancelled due to budgetary concerns. Treliński’s production will star soprano Lise Davidsen, who has quickly become a mainstay at the Met since her debut in 2019. She will play Leonora opposite tenor Bran Jagde as Don Alvaro, and Igor Golovatenko as her brother Don Carlo. The cast will also include mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Semenchuk as Preziosilla, and bass-bartone Patrick Carfizzi and bass Soloman Howard as the two priests Fra Melitone and Padre Guardiano. Howard will also play Leonora's father the Marchese di Calatrava, whose death, in a tragic accident, sets the plot of the opera in motion.

As has been previously reported, the 2023-24 season will also see the quick returns of two recent Met premieres. Terence Blanchard's Fire Shut Up In My Bones, which opened the Met's 2021-22 season, will return in April 2024, featuring a cast led by Ryan Speedo Green. This spring at the Met, Green will play Young Emile Griffith in Blanchard's Champion. Evan Rogister will conduct, and sopranos Latonia Moore and Brittany Renee round out the cast. The production will be directed by James Robinson and Camille A. Brown.

The Hours, which premiered at the Met this past fall, will return in May 2024, with its original trio of divas—Renée Fleming, Kelli O'Hara, and Joyce DiDonato—all reprising their roles in Kevin Puts' opera based on Michael Cunningham's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Kensho Watanabe, who made his Met debut conducting a single performance in the 2022 run, will return to conduct the entire run in 2024.

In times of rising antisemitism, a revival of Verdi's Nabucco is fitting. The opera, source of one of the canon's most enduring choruses, "Va, pensiero," is about the king Nebuchadnezzar II and the destruction of the First Temple at his hands. Baritone George Gagnidze plays the oppressive king, and soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska returns to the role Abigaille, his even more oppressive daughter. Mezzo-soprano Maria Barakova, tenor SeokJong Baek, and bass Dmitry Belosselskiy round out the cast, and Daniele Callegari conducts.

Puccini's La Rondine, a rarity at the Met, will return for the first time in just over a decade, led by soprano Angel Blue and tenor Jonathan Tetelman in his Met debut. The opera, about a French courtesan who runs off with a dashing young visitor, was composed as Puccini's answer to the then-popular style of Viennese operetta. It contains some of the composer's most rapturous music, such as the quartet "Bevo al tuo fresco sorriso."

Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice will be revived in May 2024, starring countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo as Orpheus, soprano Ying Fang as Euridyce, and soprano Elena Villalón as Amore. It will be directed and choreographed by Mark Morris. Costanzo and Fang are regulars at the Met, coming most recently off of acclaimed performances in Akhnaten and Idomeneo, respectively. Villalón will be making her Met debut with the production. Gluck's opera, one of many based on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, is considered a landmark in the history of the opera for how it dispensed with the conventions of Baroque opera, notably elaborately ornamented da capo arias, in favor of simple musical effects in service of the drama.

The 2023-24 season will also include revivals of Puccini's La BohèmeVerdi's Un Ballo in Maschera, Wagner's Tannhäuser, Mozart's The Magic Flute (abridged and in English), Puccini's Madama Butterfly, Puccini's Turandot, and Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, as well as performances of Verdi's Requiem. Artists appearing in these productions will include Roberto Alagna, Eleonora Buratto, Charles Castronovo, Christine Goerke, Asmik Grigorian, Elza van den Heever, Quinn Kelsey, Aleksandra Kurzak, Federica Lombardi, and Matthew Polenzani.

The season displays a sharp turn from the Met's usual programming habits. The median year of premiere for the operas in the season is 1900. That is to say, half of the season's offerings are operas written in the 20th or 21st century. The increased focus on newer works is part of the institution's strategy to attract and engage new audiences.

Special events for the season will include performances at Carnegie Hall, a solo recital featuring Lise Davidsen, and the Grand Finals concert of the The Metropolitan Opera Eric and Dominique Laffont Competition.

The following operas will be livestreamed as part of the 2023-24 Met: Live in HD series:
Dead Man Walkng (October 21, 2023)
X: The Life and Tmes of Malcolm X (November 18, 2023)
Florencia en el Amazonas (December 9, 2023)
Nabucco (January 6, 2024)
Carmen (January 27, 2024)
La Forza del Destino (March 9, 2024)
Roméo et Juliette (March 23, 2024)
La Rondine (April 20, 2024)
Madama Butterfly (May 11, 2024)

Visit for more information.

A scene from Fire Shut Up in My Bones Ken Howard / Met Opera
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