Philip Glass - AKHNATEN
In Phelim McDermotts spellbinding production of Philip Glass’ AKHNATEN, star countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo is the title pharaoh, the revolutionary ruler who abandoned traditional Egyptian polytheism; the belief of numerous deities. The radical pharaoh wanted his people to worship just one god – the sun. In a bid to enforce his new way of thinking, Akhnaten closed the temples to the old gods, wiped their names from monuments and built a new Egyptian capital, Akhetaten.
The immersive opera doesn’t have a conventional narrative or libretto. Instead, the story of Akhnaten is told through a series of tableaux. To match the opera’s hypnotic, ritualistic music, celebrated director McDermott offers an arresting vision that includes a virtuosic company of acrobats and jugglers. Akhnaten loosely follows the real story of the emperor’s rise to power, the erecting of his new city and the fall of his dynasty.
The cast features striking mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges as the ruler’s wife, Nefertiti, soprano Dísella Lárusdóttir as Queen Tye, tenor Aaron Blake as the High Priest of Amon, baritone Will Liverman as Horemhab, bass Richard Bernstein as Aye, and bass Zachary James as Amenhotep III.
The press was absolutely thrilled:
“Gleaming” — New York Magazine
“A spellbinding production” — New York Times
“Triumph for the Met … Breathtaking.” — Observer
Francis Poulenc - DIALOGUES DES CARMÉLITES
Ever since John Dexter’s striking production marked the Met’s premiere of DIALOGUES DES CARMÉLITES in 1977, Poulenc’s devastating masterpiece has been a favourite of Met audiences – and recently became one of the Grammy Jury, too. To close out the 2018–19 season, Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin led a starry revival of the opera, which was also included as part of the Live in HD series of cinema transmissions. Mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard is the fearful Blanche de la Force, who joins a convent of Carmelite nuns in order to escape the terrors of the French Revolution. The exceptional cast also features sopranos Erin Morley and Adrianne Pieczonka and mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill as some of Blanche’s fellow sisters, with tenor David Portillo as the protective Chevalier de la Force. Maestro Nézet-Séguin leads a gripping performance throughout—from the opera’s chaotic first bars to the chilling death scene of Madame de Croissy (sung by the incomparable Karita Mattila) to the work’s harrowing final moments.
“A glowing, grippingly volatile performance! …artists of a new generation have taken over this great work, this classic production and, in a way, the Met, starting with Mr. Nézet-Séguin”, hailed the New York Times. The New York Classical Review joins in, stating that “it’s hard to imagine not being moved by a performance like this one. With such extraordinary musical values, combined with intelligent but evocative stagecraft, this DIALOGUES DES CARMÉLITES represents the Met at its very best.”