February 10, 2016
The Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, directed by Richard Eyre with Kristine Opolais in the title role, which premieres on February 12, will be conducted by Fabio Luisi, the lean, elegant Italian who for the last decade has been steadily delivering great sound from the pit. Enlisted by General Manager Peter Gelb, Luisi started at the Met with Verdi’s Don Carlos in 2005, rose to principal guest conductor in 2010, and was signed to a five-year contract as principal conductor in 2011, after he took over the last two operas of Robert Lepage’s production of Wagner’s Ring cycle for an ailing James Levine. He promptly received a Grammy for Best Opera Recording. This season—his next to last as principal conductor—he is also doing Cavalleria Rusticana/Paglacci and The Marriage of Figaro. Like Levine, he has proved, over 20-some productions, that he is comfortable with all the great composers, from Mozart to Berg.