The Metropolitan Opera has cancelled plans to stage Damiano Micheletto’s version of Saint-Saens’ “Samson et Dalila.”
According to the AP, Gelb said, “Michieletto is a very talented director, however, this production of ‘Samson’ just didn’t click with the Parisian public.” As a matter of fact the production was booed when opened last year at the Opera de Paris. Michieletto restructured the opera’s narrative, subverting and inverting major elements in the original story. For example, Samson, not Dalila, cuts off his own hair while Dalila, not Samson, destroys the temple at the end of the opera. As a result of this switch, the opera will be directed by by Darko Tresniak of Hartford Stage.
This is the second major cancellation that Peter Gelb has announced in the past two months. In December the General Manager announced that the Calixto Bieto production of Verdi’s “La Forza del Destino” would be cancelled due to budgetary reason. However, that was not the first time Gelb was forced to make a major switch. Luc Bondy was originally slated to direct Verdi’s “Rigoletto” but after the tepid response at the Theater an der Wien, Gelb opted for Michael Mayer’s Las Vegas production.
Alongside the announcement Gelb noted that Met was considering a new future production of Verdi’s “Don Carlos” in the original French, which the company has never presented. The production would replace the current production by Nicholas Hytner. There was no indication of which of the opera’s many different musical versions would be showcased in French.
McVicar added that he will return to the Met in a future season for the company premiere of Handel’s “Agrippina” starring Joyce DiDonato, who is slated for Massenet’s “Cendrillon”and Bellini’s “Norma.”