From the Royal Opera House press office: “Russian soprano Marina Poplavskaya has fallen ill and unfortunately has had to withdraw from singing the role of Hélène in Les Vêpres siciliennes in the final rehearsals and the first three performances in October. Marina Poplavskaya hopes to be able to sing the remaining five performances as scheduled. The role of Hélène will now be sung on 17, 21 and 24 October by Armenian soprano Lianna Haroutounian.” Read more »
What we have here is the grandest opera never heard—in spite of the fact that Giacomo Meyerbeer’s Robert le Diable made, arguably, the most sensational debut of any in the history of the Paris Opéra. The massive work was hailed by nearly every composer of its day as a masterpiece, save a few bitter pill takers—Herrs Wagner and Mendelssohn I’m looking at you—and then transcribed into concert pieces by many of them.
Staging innovations for that first production included the first use in Paris of the English theatrical trap door. It even started trends in dance that live on to this day with the invention of the ur-tutu and the introduction of the “ballet blanc” genre with the ladies of the corps all in white. Being immortalized by Degas twice in paint and having the singular distinction of being the only 19th Century opera to have a rose named after it hardly even scratches the veneer of how wildly popular Robert was in its heyday. Read more »
Due to wellness, it is with deep contentedness that Marina Poplavskaya will after all sing the role of Alice in Robert le Diable.
La Cieca predicts you won’t be seeing any puritans at the Met next season, except of course for the ones who slouch around during intermission hissing, “You call that a trill?”
UPDATE, Tuesday, 7:45 AM: The Met sent out a press release at 1:27 AM New York time today announcing major changes to its roster for the tour of Japan this month. La Cieca has revised the following gossip item (which appeared at 11 PM last night) to reflect the Met’s confirmations.
Willy Decker’s Traviata has garnered praise from critics and audiences alike in the week since its Metropolitan premiere, but (as was to be expected) this praise comes over the complaints of a select few traditionalists, a handful of lonely boos amid the mostly enthusiastic applause. Their objection (as usual) is that Decker’s production betrays the “original text” of “Verdi’s La Traviata.” But these detractors should consider that La Traviata is a work in which questions of betrayal and fidelity are specifically at issue—one that reminds us that sometimes, counterintuitively, the only way to remain faithful to someone or something is [...]
The answers of millions of supplicants worldwide (and thousands of Met-goers citywide) have been answered. “[Peter Gelb] said there were no plans to replace Mr. Zeffirelli’s productions of La Bohème and Turandot. [New York Times]
La Cieca (not pictured) hopes to hear reactions from the cher public who attended this afternoon’s HD of Don Carlo, a preview of which follows the jump.
Controversial diva Marina Poplavskaya is the subject of a profile in the current New Yorker that does not include any bloodhounds snappin’ at her rear end, but that’s about the only life experience omitted. Highlights include the soprano’s lugging a trolley full of luggage across 14 lanes of Buenos Aires traffic following a dispute with a hotel manager, marking up in a dozen different colors the orchestra score of the Verdi Requiem, and the bit where she runs out the stage door in full evening dress, hops on a motorcycle, and zips off to the airport. Believe me, this is [...]