Home > Article > New Operas at the Met Prove to Be Rare Breed – NYTimes.com

New Operas at the Met Prove to Be Rare Breed – NYTimes.com

ON Oct. 23 the Metropolitan Opera will offer something that has been too infrequent during Peter Gelb’s six years as general manager: a new production of an opera by a living composer.

The Tempest,” the British composer Thomas Adès’s exhilarating adaptation of Shakespeare’s play, which received its premiere at the Royal Opera in London in 2004, will be presented at the Met in a production directed by Robert Lepage. Leading the orchestra will be the prodigiously skilled Mr. Adès, an insightful conductor in wide-ranging repertory and an accomplished pianist.

You could argue, and I would, that works by living composers have appeared too rarely since the early days of James Levine’s artistic leadership of the Met. The sadly ailing and absent Mr. Levine is still officially the company’s music director. Given this background “The Tempest,” an audacious work completed when Mr. Adès was just 32, should be the most significant artistic statement of the coming Met season.

Over the years Mr. Levine spoke openly of his frustration in trying to make the Met a house that fosters new and recent opera. But the dearth of operas by living composers at the Met, or even later-20th-century works by composers now dead (it took the New York Philharmonic to present the New York premiere of Gyorgy Ligeti’s astonishing “Grand Macabre” in 2010), seems incompatible with Mr. Gelb’s stated mission. He arrived in 2006, vowing to bring the company into the 21st century by drawing on the latest developments in staging and by rejuvenating the repertory. Shouldn’t new and recent works be a major part of this initiative?

via New Operas at the Met Prove to Be Rare Breed – NYTimes.com.

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