[Note: This post has been updated (1) as of 11:55 PM Eastern on 13 Feb. See below.]
Here it is, and in great detail, right from the horse's mouth, so to speak. And here's a report from Playbill Arts on the in-tandem press conference held today by Peter Gelb. And another report on the press conference written by Daniel J. Wakin for The New York Times, along with some reaction to what Mr. Gelb had to say.
Separately, the following excerpt from an Associated Press story, pre-press conference, is particularly encouraging; not only for the thing in itself, but for what it reveals about Mr. Gelb's thinking:
Gelb, who takes over as general manager from Joseph Volpe on Aug. 1, outlined his vision for the company, which will offer six new productions next season for the first time since 1990-91.
He doesn't think Andrea Bocelli, who has a wide following but has been disparaged by opera fans, has a place at the Met. He also said he doesn't have plans to bring in some of the European directors who have provoked the most controversy, such as Hans Neuenfels, Calixto Bieito and Phyllida Lloyd.
[Gelb] doesn't ... want to bring in directors who have incited audiences with radical plot distortions.
"What I'm not interested in is having directors here who are anti-story tellers, and that's how I would group a lot of directors who subject audiences in Europe to unpleasant artistic experiences," Gelb said.
The one immediately discouraging item I read in the Met's detailed PR release linked above is this:
The Met will launch a new annual series of winter holiday family entertainment, offered at family-friendly prices, beginning this December. Julie Taymor will create an abridged [90-minute], English-language production of her fantastical Met production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, offered in a new [English] translation by J.D. McClatchy.
I simply don't see how that abridgment can be done without destroying the musical and dramatic integrity of the work. As I've previously written on this blog concerning this abridged production of Zauberflöte, "[I]f Mozart's original intention for Zauberflöte was to write a 90-minute, fast-moving entertainment, he would have written a 90-minute, fast-moving entertainment rather than what he did write: a transcendent, two-act, three-hour, Singspiel that's among the most sublime works of art in all of music."
Well, let's wait and see.
Update (11:55 PM Eastern on 13 Feb): I thought I would expand a bit on my above objection to an abridged Met Zauberflöte by reprinting below a verbatim excerpt from an eMail correspondence of last July. "_Z_" is, of course, Zauberflöte.
My points are several.
First, it's the *Met* we're here talking about. I could, for instance, understand, and perhaps excuse, a "tab" _Z_ produced by some provincial house or off-mainstream venue for any number of practical reasons, but never by the Met. The Met's an "Opera House Of Record", so to speak, and such a gross disfigurement of any work, much less of a masterpiece such as _Z_, is simply unacceptable and inexcusable. For the Met to justify such a production on the grounds that "a 90-minute, fast-moving entertainment is a lot closer to Mozart's original intention," or that it helps build young audiences, are both, and at best, rationalizations; ones that are, to not put too fine a point on it, simply absurd; the former for reasons that ought to be perfectly clear and inarguable; the latter because it's simply untrue.
The notion that a full version of _Z_ is incapable of holding the attention of a young audience, most especially in this new Taymor production, flies in the face of one of the things that makes _Z_ the transcendent masterpiece it is: its ability to capture the imagination of all manner of audiences, naïve and erudite, childlike and sophisticated equally. The only change that would be required for a young, naïve, and unsophisticated audience in this country is that the *spoken* parts be done in English rather than German. Any young audience that can sit through and be riveted by, say, one of the _Lord of The Rings_ movies, which dramatically, at its most naïve level, is way more complex and difficult than _Z_ at that same level, can handle and be engrossed by a well-done, full _Z_ with no difficulty whatsoever.
And the argument that no one loses by a cut _Z_ in addition to, rather than as a replacement for, the full version, is, I think, way shortsighted if not outright wrongheaded. The primary loser in such an arrangement is the very audience the cut _Z_ was intended to benefit, as what it gets is a fundamentally false idea of Mozart's masterpiece; one that's difficult to displace or rid oneself of later on as are first impressions of just about anything.
So, in short, I can think of no adequate or legitimate justification for a cut Met production of _Z_ in any circumstance, or for any reason whatsoever.