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“Lehman’s Syndrome” bewilders medical establishment

From the Met press office: “Jay Hunter Morris will sing the role of Siegfried in Siegfried on April 21 matinee and April 30, 2012, and in Götterdämmerung on May 3, 2012. He replaces Gary Lehman who has withdrawn due to illness.”


  • 1
    Feldmarschallin says:

    I read that Michael Volle will sing Wotan in Wien and New York (2017). Also little tidbit that Peter Seiffert will not sing any of the Othellos in Zürich since Gatti fired him since he didn’t know the role.

  • 2
    RDaggle says:

    a brief interview with Jay Hunter Morris appears in today’s NY Times

  • 3
    veal seduttore says:

    It’s part of the Met illness package that includes “Levine’s Disorder” and “Gheorghiu’s Accessories.”

  • 4
    Camille says:

    I am very sorry for Mr. Lehmann and I had continued to hope he would have recovered in time for at least the April performances. He must be very ill indeed. Best wishes for a full recovery.

    • 4.1
      Bosah says:

      I agree. I was suspicious until DV’s interview during Siegfried. She talked about the difference working with “poor Gary” who “was so sick” during rehearsals and almost lethargic and JHM, who had so much more energy.

      I hope whatever is wrong is dealt with.

  • 5
    Maury D says:

    Maybe he’s pregnant.

    Morris was terrific, so that part is good news.

    • 5.1
      Adalgisa says:

      I’m sorry: Morris was NOT terrific!
      He was there, he survived it. He still sounded more Mime than his Mime. Sorry.

      • 5.1.1
        Camille says:

        Agreed, Adalgisa.

        Yesterday I did listen in on the third act of Siegfried from San Francisco. He sounded better there, but, all things being equal, a nice guy, an accomplished performer, but not exactly a Siegfried, if not a Mime.

        I’m sorry, too, but that’s how I heard it.

          lorenzo.venezia says:

          nothing to apologize for. You’re right, or least, I heartily agree. Nice guy, not a Siegfried in my book either.

      • 5.1.2

        I think THIS is where we are going to see the impact of HD broadcasts on casting--somewhat smaller voices like Morris’s (on a Wagner scale that is) sound great on a broadcast despite not having quite enough impact in the house. But many more people saw the broadcast than saw one of the three performances in the house, so the overall reception is based more on that.

        (Pace Camille above, who did hear Morris on a broadcast and thought he sounded undersized.)

          Bosah says:

          I agree. Like some others, I thought JHM’s voice sounded slightly undersized -- esp when singing next to Terfel and Siegel. Even in the HD, this came across.

          But still, for the telecast, it didn’t really make any difference and I gather that it didn’t seem to bother most in the house, either.

          I thought he was great overall and loved his performance.

          Camille says:


          I did see the Siegfried from the Met in HD as well. I was interested to also hear him from San Francisco to compare. It was slightly different but not enough. I think MarshieMarkII’s determining criteria, the line “Sei mein, sei mein, sei mein” (so important) helped me in making my own final decision. Not enough.

          It’s all about what it looks like to the untold multitudes that are paying their dollars in cinemas world-wide. It will change singing, for better or for worse, but according to the Divas of Lanfranco Rasponi, that transformation has already long been in the making. All said and done, the exposure those people get may make this tyrannosaurus Rex of an art form survive through the new milennium. Gelb is certainly no fool. He knows he has inherited a lot of heavy Victorian parlour furniture while we are now living in an IKEA world.

          Hey, Zerbinetta Treustes, I’m going to have Sachertorte for a Noel treat at the Neue Gallerie when I come back to NYC in a few weeks. I’ll have some Schlagobers for U!!

  • 6
    irontongue says:

    My money would certainly be on Luisi for the full Rings.

    As for Lehman, I’ve been expecting this announcement, though I was wondering what the reason offered would be.

    • 6.1

      Interested to hear what Luisi makes of Gott. The chamber approach, which works so well for the scherzo-like Siegfried, might not necessarily work for the very different ultimate opera. We’ll see.

  • 7
    operaassport says:

    That must be one hell of a yeast infection.

  • 8
    veal seduttore says:

    Because of Levine or Angela?

  • 9
    steveac10 says:

    I hope we’re not being too cynical about Lehman. There is a possibility that there is a serious or chronic illness that was diagnosed this fall. Siegfried is the most difficult sing in the tenor canon -- so it’s probably not possible unless you’re at the absolute top of your game.

    • 9.1
      sterlingkay says:

      I agree. I know Lehman is seriously ill and it’s not a laughing matter.

      • 9.1.1
        brooklynpunk says:

        Very Very sorry to hear that, sterlingkay…

        …and one reason NOT to “second-guess” a person’s motives/reasons/ for cancelling, UNLESS one KNOWS the REAL STORY…!

      • 9.1.2
        Bosah says:

        I thought that was made very clear by Voigt on the HD transmission. Anyone who heard her discuss Lehman and didn’t think he was seriously ill wasn’t listening -- or at least hearing.

      • 9.1.3
        operaassport says:

        If you really “know” he’s seriously ill then share the information. Otherwise, it’s just another anonymous piece of gossip that has no more weight than any other. And the subject remains fair game absent verifiable information.

    • 9.2
      Bosah says:

      Final thing -- I thought Gelb’s comment on the HD that Lehman was fighting a serious lung condition through the entire rehearsal period, so “it was just too much for him in his condition” seemed quite genuine. I don’t see why he’d diagnose Lehman with a specific illness or bring it up in such detail otherwise.

      • 9.2.1
        Byrnham Woode says:

        The conducting status is still that Luisi leads the GOTTERDAMMERUNG premiere run of 5 performances in Jan./Feb. Levine’s name is still on ALL RING performances in April and May. But watch for additional announcements, I would say.

  • 10
    alma.costanza says:

    We all hope Mr. Lehman can recover soon. However, if people tend to skeptical about it, it’s only the fault of the various managaments (the opera company, the artists’ agencies, the PRs) that abuse the word “indisposition”.

  • 11
    Bianca Castafiore says:

    Don’t understand the snide comments about what may be a serious illness.

    Speaking of which, does anyone have any news of Bruce Ford? This is a tenor I only learned of from youtube, and I loved his past work. But I have never caught him live, and I heard he was sick (he was sched. for the Armidas at the Met 2 yrs ago, but withdrew). Just wondering if he’s ok, and whether his career is effectively over.

    • 11.1
      semira mide says:

      Bianca, I emailed Bruce Ford when I learned that he had withdrawn from Armida. I believe someone had commented that he was seriously ill. I simply wrote how much I have enjoyed his work and wished him well.
      He graciously answered ( I’m not anybody “important” so I wasn’t expecting a reply)He wrote that he was not going to sing again. It is very sad. I think the Armida from Amsterdam is quite stunning and I’m sorry I never got hear him in person.

      • 11.1.1
        brooklynpunk says:


        I am quite sad , reading that concerning Bruce Ford

        I have admired , for a long time, the work(s) he has done on many Opera Rara recordings.

        I wish him all the best.

      • 11.1.2
        manou says:

        I saw Bruce Ford many times in London and Switzerland, he was indeed wonderful.

        From his website :

        “Mr. Ford has now retired from the Opera and Concert stage and is now teaching voice and stage deportment.  Anyone interested in studying with him can get in contact at  “

          semira mide says:

          Maybe we should send all tenors wishing to sing Rossini to him! BTW Manou,what did you hear him sing?

          • manou says:

            Mitridate, Almaviva, Lindoro (Italiana with Marilyn Horne),Otello (Rossini), all at Covent Garden; I also saw him in Ermione at Glyndebourne (with Anna Caterina Antonacci), and again in the Barber of Seville in Geneva.

            And that’s just off the top of my head.

          operaguy says:

          I saw Ford here in Baltimore in 2006 (Siege of Corinth) and, though he is an artist I greatly admired -- he was in pretty bad vocal condition at the performance I heard. It sounded like the voice was, more or less, shot. Sad, but he is not the first tenor to start downhill at age 50.

    • 11.2
      Bianca Castafiore says:

      Darlings, mille grazie for all this information. Manouesque, you are so lucky to have caught so many performances with him. Well, I only know him from youtube, but I loved many of those selections. The Ermione with Antonacci sounds great. Sorry to hear that his career is effectively over but glad that he’s teaching and able to pass his knowledge on.