La Cieca presents the first in a series of speculations why seemingly talented and well-respected artists don’t get hired — or rehired — by the Met.
One reason a soprano might not sing at the Met is that, when she does have an engagement there, she waits until 15 minutes before curtain time, already costumed and wigged, to announce that she has “pulled some neck muscles.”
But she doesn’t cancel right away, instead insisting on being allowed on the set as late at 8:00 to vocalize in order to decide whether she can go on. (Now, you understand, the audience is already in the house so they can hear the singing behind the curtain.)
Meanwhile, the cover has been summoned from the canteen at 7:50. But as of 8:10, the diva and her entourage still can’t make up their collective minds whether she is up to the task, so someone in Met management (they’re all there, and they’re all pissed) makes an executive decision.
A quick, sheepish announcement is made before the curtain and the performance finally begins. The soprano and her manager slink out the stage door, right about the time the cover — still being sewn into her costume — sings her entrance lines.
No management, no matter how patient, is willing to put up with this sort of tsuris for a second-cast repertory performance in the last weeks of the season — especially on a day when a star bass-baritone fell and injured himself at a dress rehearsal and had to be replaced for the final act.
And whether the story outlined above is correct in every detail or not, the fact that a Met insider was eager to share it with La Cieca first thing this morning means that major feathers have been ruffled.
And that’s why she doesn’t sing at the Met.