There's been a regime change at the Metropolitan Opera, and new boss Peter Gelb has thrown out the decades-old tradition of kicking off the season with a superstar gala of repertoire excerpts. This year, he’ll start with a full-on production: Puccini's Madama Butterfly, re-imagined by first-time opera director Anthony Minghella (known for The English Patient) and starring Cristina Gallardo-Domâs, Marcello Giordani, and Dwayne Croft. All are excellent singers but hardly household names. What's more, a first look at the production goes not to the big spenders but to whoever shows up for an open dress rehearsal on September 22 (the free tickets are available starting September 20). One suspects that it's his first step toward building the dream audience of the young and the hip that Gelb—and every other classical-music executive—covets.
Madama Butterfly, Metropolitan Opera; season opens September 25.