Cher Public

Star, crossed

UPDATE: This just in from the Met press office: “Hei-Kyung Hong will sing the role of Juliette in Roméo et Juliette for performances from March 3 through March 22 this season, replacing Angela Gheorghiu, who is ill. The role of Juliette for the Saturday, March 26 performance is TBA.”

EARLIER: Angela Gheorghiu has just announced on her Facebook page that she has cancelled all her Met performances of Roméo et Juliette

  • sensibility

    I am one of Angela’s biggest fans and I find this news terrible.Of course it is more than illness.Honestly I think her personal(marital) problems affects her immensely.Just my opinion.
    I think LA is almost right.
    What can I say? Dissapointing.I’ll try to get over.

  • operadunce

    Well, typical Parterrian threads the last two days. Honor your engagement and be trashed (Renee). Cancel your engagement and be trashed (Angela). Oh, gioia! A Parterrian delight! Personally, I think Renee has the right idea. If you are going to be criticized, might as well get paid for it!

    • OpinionatedNeophyte

      Another way of reading it is “divas continue to do the things Parterrians have always criticized them for.” Renee was criticized for singing Armida past her prime, this year she did that only just a year later. Gheorghiu has been accused of being unprofessional and bratty, and here we are.

    • Lucky Pierre

      well, OD, i’m glad you enjoy mediocre performances. some of us are a bit more discerning.

      • Bosah

        Some of us can also analyze a comment. OD said nothing about enjoying any performance.

      • operadunce

        Excue me, but you were the one at the performance. I was home watching HBO.

        • Lucky Pierre

          i went for the ballet.

          HBO? really?

      • figaroindy

        “a bit more discerning” and apparently a great deal more self-impressed.

        Please discern that OD was commenting on the comments not the performance. And discern that no one on here asks for you to speak condescendingly to them. Since when did you become the arbiter of performances and comments?

        • Lucky Pierre

          figaro, can you discern which finger am i holding up?

  • operadunce

    As far as Parterre is concerned, has Renee ever had a prime for the bel canto rep? And imagine the outcry if she HAD pulled out of a production mounted especially for her. The vultures would surely be circling.

    • OpinionatedNeophyte

      I’ve seen recently (and after a quick scurry through the archives, in the past) lots of complimentary statements about Renee’s mid 90s Armida’s around these parts. Whenever someone makes a generalizing statement about what the cher public says or does collectively, I feel the need to grab the smelling salts because you can be sure a coma-inducing wave of complaining is about to bore us all into unconsciousness. As I’ve said elsewhere, the ebbs and flows and crashing waves and downright monsoons of opinion and opinions on this site are impossible to encapsulate on any one issue. Which is, of course, part of why we all love it here. Now watch as someone comes out to recall all those instances when parterrians have been of one mind on something, just to prove me wrong.

      • Bosah

        I’ve asked this on the TKTS thread, but there *seems* to be a dichotomy between HD ticket sales of Armida, DVD sales (currently) and Armida attendance. The DVD is doing -- comparatively speaking -- very well and is the most popular offering from the MET on Amazon. It’s been in or around the top 3 classical offerings since it was released.

        I don’t know if that’s misleading and it means 10 copies have been sold…. no idea about numbers, but would be interested to know if anyone does.

        Interesting, the second most popular opera offering is Angela’s Traviata.

        • Bosah

          Oops… didn’t mean to put the above as a reply to ON. But… it is interesting that the public’s opinion also doesn’t seem to match the most prevalent negative opinions here.

          • il_guarany

            Once (a few years ago) La Cieca posted the best-selling items from her Amazon store, and Renée was #1, even here with Parterreans (was it maybe the Homage album?, I don’t recall).

        • Hey maybe it’s because Angela’s Traviata is on Blu-Ray for about $6. That’s the lowest price Opera DVD I have ever found on Amazon.

      • il_guarany

        I think a lot of the praise for Renée’s first Armida was in the context of her no longer being able to do the role justice now, followed by friendly suggestions that she retire the role because she stinks.

    • Go to the threat about Renee’s birthday and read and listen to what I posted. The whole “Renee was never good for bel canto” thing is getting old, specially when coming from people who can not do their research.

  • Well I actually am surprised. Angela’s calender isn’t full these days, and Juliette is one of the few roles she maintains in her rep. The Met also seems to be one of the few houses left willing to tolerate her antics. So I thought she’d really show up this time, but guess not. I have a ticket tomorrow, Hong should be okay, although last time I heard her I wasn’t exactly blown away.

    Funny how Bobby has hardly cancelled at the Met since about 2004, and really seems to be a favorite with both management and the audiences.

    Also, if Angie’s really sick with something liek the flu, she should be fine by March 26. There’s more going on here.

    • brooklynpunk


      There are illness--other than the “flu”, ya know..?!?

      When someone says they are SICK--unless that person is caught scuba-diving when they are supposed to be in their sick-bed-- ain’t it the polite thing to take em at their word, and not search-or make up other stories-for them( or even wonder if they are telling the “truth”?

      • The announcement said she was “ill.” All I’m saying is most seasonal infectious diseases (cold, flu) don’t take more than three weeks to recover. She cancelled the entire run. If she had any intention of fulfilling her engagements wouldn’t she … cancel the first performance, and see how she feels? See if she feels any better after a few days?

  • luvtennis


    I beg to differ. Yes, Renee gets more than her fair share on the site, but she IS really successful, beautiful, and a total MILF. For the most part, there are too many smart posters for anyone to get away with unreasonable bashing for too long. Unlike say, Opera-L -- aka “Bellevue -- The Golden Senior Twilight Years.”

    • luvtennis

      That first sentence should have read “. . . total MILF, she can take care of herself and is probably having a very good time of it, despite Parterre.”

      Did I mention that Angie is apparently crazy?

      • operadunce

        luvtennis: You’ll get no disagreement from me on either point.

  • CwbyLA

    I’m sure Renee Fleming knows that she is not singing Armida well. Didn’t Maria Callas once say she knew how well she did in a performance and that she didn’t need the critics to tell her how she did? Renee is an intelligent singer and probably she doesn’t think that singing one opera not that well will not ruin her career. I think she is true to her word so perhaps she agreed to sing Armida 5-6 years ago when Gelb became the general manager and she couldn’t back off from it. It is also possible that she is singing it for the same reason that Birgit Nilsson sang Mozart. As Nilsson confessed she hasn’t been good to Mozart as he had been good to her.

  • Constantine A. Papas

    So, what is new? AG canceled the entire run at the LOH 2 years back, the same with Carmen at the Met, and now the entire run of R & J. Does she get sick in advance due to lack of confidence? Or she is affraid to be compared to Netrebko’s Juliet? Is Angela G in the process of treminating her career for good at age 45? It seems so.

  • zinka

    When I bought tickets for THREE Romeos..for Beczala..I cursed that I had to sit through the tiny voice of Angela…She has become a soprano with absolutely NO PROJECTION…..Take a singer like Rebecca Evans…Zerlina..She can project..It is not that a voice has to be Nilsson..It is projection..and I am so glad she is gone..Pity..I once loved

    • luvtennis

      Not to be rude, but really, the last thing we need is for singers to be pushing for more volume.

      When a well-focussed, tighly knit tone, and even flexible legato once again become basic requirements of opera stardom (for singers in any rep heavier than Mozart), then we can talk volume. Right now, we have plenty of large-voiced singers with blowsy unfocussed sounds that wobble or sag. I have no explanation for why except to point out that stereo recordings and the general “loudness” of our modern world seem to to have encouraged conductors and orchestras to roar. Perhaps in trying to keep up, singers have sacrificed too many vocal virtues.

  • Cocky Kurwenal

    Gheorghiu does have Tosca in her active rep also. Maybe not in New York, but she has another run at Covent Garden coming up (at least her 3rd in that house) and she has done it more than once in Berlin. I hadn’t realised how tiny her repertoire is until you all pointed it out on this thread, but it is at least 1 role less tiny than stated previously here!

    • spiderman

      Not quite true… Guess what she did with the Toscas in Berlin… yep, she CANCELLED.

      I think she sang Tosca so far ONLY in London.

  • paddypig

    Despite having an official policy of not letting singers use their own costumes and requiring them to use the company costumes, there have always been exeptions. Most famous ones in recent history were Joan Sutherland who always had her own costumes designed specifically for her in every production she ever sang in. Caballe also had her own Tosca costumes when she appeared in the Zeffirelli TOSCA (can you imagine what she would have looked like in the red dress) as did Millo. I think it is a great way to freshen up a production. When Fleming did Violetta, her costumes definitely gave the production an entire new look. current Mimi’s do not use the same hairstyle that was designed for Stratas and the costumes have also changed slightly over the years. I liked the new costumes designed for AG a few years ago as I liked Fleming’s costumes (best thing about her performance) It seems to be economically a good way to freshen things up. I also recall when Bumbry did Carmen for her last run at the MET she demanded a new costume that costs something like fifteen thousand dollars to prepare. New costumes for the diva seem like a great way to make an older production look fresh again. Don’t forget until the 60s, it was standard for most singers to travel with their own costumes.

  • Harry

    Didn’t divas in the past like Melba, also ask at times that the costumes be given to them, as part of the deal?. I remember being in some place where some of Melba’s costumes were on display, including one she wore -- as Wagner’s Elsa in Moscow.

  • Bill

    Harry -- I am sure that many leading singers in the
    past simply brought their own costumes to any
    opera house no matter whether it suited the
    production or not.

    There was a fsmous incident when Lotte Lehmann at Covent Garden in the 1930s simply walked off the stage and out of the opera house toward the end of the first act of Rosenkavalier stating something like “I can do no more”

    They found Hilde Konetzni who was in London for another role to appear in the third act, but Lehmann
    had walked off with the costumes so the company
    borrowed a Cape or wrap from one of the patrons in a Loge so Konetzni had something appropriate to wear in the third act.

    As Voight well knows, a generation later at CG the dress itself was more important than the singer scheduled for Ariadne.

    • armerjacquino

      Oh Bill, NO! Don’t let me down by perpetuating the myth!

      Voigt was released from that Ariadne because she couldn’t do the blocking. It was then very deftly spun into a story about a dress.

  • Buster

    Some singers had to pay for their own costumes -- I remember complaints about that in the Rasponi book.

    The Melba Brussels story is interesting:

    The Brussels management was generous to Melba. A few
    months later, when she was to leave for London to make
    her debut at Covent Garden, she told her dresser to pack the costumes which they had made for her at the Monnaie. The trunk was almost filled with her costumes for Rigoletto, Lucia and La Traviata when Melba looked up and saw Mon sieur Lapissida’s face. He seemed astonished.

    “What are you doing?”

    ‘I’m having my dresses packed.”

    “But they are not your dresses.”

    Melba was very indignant. By that time she had learned
    to be a prima donna. “But surely these dresses belong to me.”

    Monsieur Lapissida shook his head. “They were made for
    you, according to your contract, but remain the property of the theater.” And he left.

    Feeling “very sad at heart,” Melba began to unpack again, when Monsieur Lapissida returned and told her to keep the dresses. He had spoken to the directors. They were making her a present.

    On her last day in Brussels Monsieur Lapissida brought
    her a large leather box.

    “A little gift that will be useful in London when you sing in La Traviata” he said. The box contained a beautiful set of paste jewelry necklace, earrings and brooch. The directors had known that she worried about having to appear in London in the decorative part of Violetta with no other adornment than the thin gold necklace that she always wore around her neck in those early days. Twenty years later, when Melba came to New York to appear in La Traviata at the Manhattan Opera House, she had so many precious jewels that Oscar Hamnaerstein, the producer, provided two detectives to guard her diamonds.


    • Nerva Nelli

      How sad for Mr. Gelb that not all of his ideal singers ( in this case, “singers”)- have Juliette in their repertory.

  • Niel Rishoi

    Gheorghiu is creating a lot of ill-will and her reputation is at stake. It’s too many cancellations. The question of nerves and insecurity are valid here. Her artistic profile has remained stubbornly vague: what role does she really own, really made hers? She’s really a recording and concert-personality star. Gheorghiu has recorded a lot of stuff she’ll never sing onstage. She’s after the illusion of a legendary prima donna -- but, I think, she’s mostly a legend in her own mind. She is one silly bitch.

  • Veloce49

    Probably cancelled because she did not want to be “conducted” by Flacido