For years, the Metropolitan Opera’s opening night would arrive at the end of September, and half of the audience—there for the party after—would promptly doze off. The snoozy gala evenings tended to include morsels, or even whole acts, from warhorses like Otello and Carmen, and they always seemed to star Placido Domingo, Renee Fleming or both.
Well, we give Peter Gelb a lot of (well-deserved) flack, but, to give him his (considerable) due, opening night—Sept. 23 this year, mark your calendar and dry-clean your de la Renta—has regained considerable luster on his watch. Instead of the multi-opera mash-ups, the season, since the beginning of Mr. Gelb’s tenure in 2006, usually begins with a new production and at least one A-list star. And that star’s name usually begins with an A, too: the soprano Anna Netrebko, who has her third opening night in a row this year as she makes her New York role debut in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, with the extra dazzle of Valery Gergiev, unmatchable in Russian music, leading the Met’s orchestra. Read More