NY Met Opera announces Season: 8 new operas with 18 revivals

NEW YORK (AFP) - New York's Metropolitan Opera said Tuesday it would defy the economic downturn with eight new productions in its 2009-2010 season. General manager Peter Gelb announced Met premiers including Rossini's "Armida," Verdi's "Attila," Janacek's "From the House of the Dead," and Shostakovich's "The Nose." Also planned in the upcoming season are new productions of Bizet's "Carmen," Offenbach's "Les Contes d'Hoffmann," Thomas's "Hamlet," and Puccini's "Tosca." Eighteen revivals from the company's repertory will also be produced.

Music director James Levine described the program as a "wonderful balance of repertory that includes four works totally new to the Met as well as a number of great operas that have been out of the repertory for a long time." A deep economic downturn hitting the country and New York itself would not deter the opera house from pursuing an ambitious season.

"Although the economy is bad, we are committed to maintaining the Met's artistic excellence," Gelb said in a statement. "We have gained a new and larger public that we're determined to keep by continuing to present the world's leading artists in compelling new productions and appealing revivals."

Music lovers who can't make it to New York will be able to get a taste of the spectacle via live, high-definition cinema screenings already being run in the current season in more than 35 countries. The three remaining in this season are "Madama Butterfly" on March 7, "La Sonnambula" on March 21, and "La Cenerentola" May 9. The 2009-10 series will feature nine transmissions, beginning October 10 with "Tosca."

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