A season of cancellation announcements


ANGELA GHEOGHIU from Carmen at the Met

Soprano Angela Gheorghiu has withdrawn from the first six performances of the Metropolitan Opera's new production of Bizet's "Carmen," which opens New Year's Eve and runs through January 21, including the Jan. 16 matinee set to be simulcast to theaters around the world.

The following statement appears on the soprano's official website: "With deep regret Angela Gheorghiu has to announce that she has to withdraw just from the first six performances of the new production of CARMEN at the MET later this year due to personal reasons. She will appear in the title role of CARMEN as scheduled on April 28 and May 1, 2010. (Angela Gheorghiu also reprises her acclaimed portrayal of Violetta in La Traviata at the Met in the spring.)"

The new production by Richard Eyre was designed around Gheorghiu, whose performance in the title role is highly anticipated as it is rare for a soprano to take on this famous mezzo-soprano role, and her husband tenor Roberto Alagna in the role of the love-stricken Don Jose. The performances from which she has withdrawn are those in which she sings opposite her husband. In her Spring 2019 performances, she will sing opposite the young German tenor Jonas Kaufmann.

Gheorghiu will be replaced in the six performances by mezzo Elina Garanca, who sang the title role in Rossini’s Cenerentola at the Met last season to acclaim and who had been scheduled to sing the Muse and Nicklausse in the Met's new production of Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann, which opens Dec. 3. Kate Lindsey will replace Garanca in Hoffmann.

ANNA NETREBKO from La Traviata at the Met

Earlier, soprano Anna Netrebko announced her withdrawal from the Metropolitan Opera's La traviata in the 2010-11 season. The Met is staging the modern-dress production by Willy Decker that electrified fans at the Salzburg Festival in 2005 when Ms. Netrebko sang Violetta opposite the Alfredo of the tenor Rolando Villazón, who is also scheduled to appear in the Decker production at the Met. (As noted above, Villazón is now recovering from larynx surgery which forced him to cancel all of his 2009 appearances. It remains to be seen, in view of the recently announed withdrawal from his 2010 Vienna engagement, if he will keep his 2010 Met engagement as planned.)

In an interview with the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine, Netrebko said she is pulling out of Traviata because she does not want to compete with her own original performance that was recorded live and released on DVD shortly after the Salzburg premiere. Also, she does not want the role of Violetta to become too routine, she added. Soprano Marina Poplavskaya will sing in her place.

On an altogether different and happier note, Netrebko and her fiance, Uruguayan bass-baritone Erwin Schrott (today's reigning Don Giovanni), told Austrian media that they will marry in the very near future. The couple?s son, Tiago Arua, was born in September.

"We know the place and we know the date," Schrott said. "In any case, it's not going to be over the top."

RENE PAPE from Les Contes d'Hoffmann at the Met

Acclaimed Bass René Pape has withdrawn from the Metropolitan Opera's new production of Offenbach's "Les Contes d'Hoffmann," that opens Dec. 3.

Pape has decided not to add the four villains to his repertory, the company said Tuesday. Alan Held will now sing the roles of Lindorf, Coppelius, Dappertutto and Dr. Miracle.

Tenor Joseph Calleja sing Hoffmann in place of ROLANDO VILLAZON, who canceled all his appearances until the end of 2009 to recuperate from surgery to remove a cyst on his larynx.

The production, conducted by music director James Levine, features Anna Netrebko as Antonia and Elina Garanca as Nicklausse. The Dec. 19 performance will be simulcast to theaters around the world.

ROLANDO VILLAZON from Carmen in Vienna

Star tenor Rolando Villazon, who announced in April 2009 that he has cancelled all engagments until the end of 2009 as he recovers from surgery to remove a cyst from his larynx, recently announced his withdrawal from the May 2010 premiere of Carmen in Vienna.

Villazon was to have appeared with soprano Anna Netrebko and mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca at the Vienna State Opera. But the Mexican singer says he's being extra cautious with his schedule to ensure he makes a full recovery. He hopes to reschedule the Vienna performance.

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