E-mail Print PDF

Trojan retreat

Marcello Giordani has from the Met’s production of Berlioz’s Les Troyens in the middle of the run, retiring the role from his repertory. Giordani has received plenty of brickbats from New York’s critics, describing his ‘barnstorming style’ in the duet with Didon, being ‘vocally wobbly’ and ‘tentative and badly strained’.

Read more>>

Harteros withdraws from ROH Don Carlo

We hear reports that Anja Harteros has withdrawn from performances as Elisabetta in the Royal Opera’s revival of Don Carlos next season. This news will be particularly sad for those who heard her wonderful Desdemona in Otello earlier this month. No news has been officially released from the ROH yet, nor news on any replacement.

* Update: 26th February - the Royal Opera has confirmed Anja Harteros has withdrawn from performances on 15th, 18th, 21st and 25th May 2013, with Armenian soprano Lianna Haroutounian making her role debut.


Trojan Hoarse

After missing recent engagements (and having to lip-synch at the Champions League final in Munich last week), Jonas Kaufmann has withdrawn from the eagerly anticipated new Royal Opera production of Les Troyens in June. Bryan Hymel, who had already joined rehearsals at Covent Garden, has been announced as a replacement Enée.

Read more>>

Si, mi chiamano Carmen...

It seems the Royal Opera House is having little luck with the casting of Mimì in La bohème. Days after lining up Irish soprano Celine Byrne to replace Anja Harteros in the first cast of this summer’s revival, she has had to withdraw for health reasons.

She is replaced by Carmen Giannattasio, an Italian soprano familiar to London audiences through her involvement in Opera Rara projects. Unbelievably, this will mark her Royal Opera debut. She has previously sung Mimì in Berlin andToulouse.

Giannattasio’s recent appearances include Violetta in La traviata in Berlin, Leonora in Il trovatore forThéâtre du Capitole, Toulouse,  Salomé (Massenet’s Hérodiade) for De Vlaamse Opera, and Vitellia (La clemenza di Tito) in Aix-en-Provence.

Her future roles include the role of Elizabeth of Valois in Don Carlos in Berlin as well as her debut at the Met as Leonora (Il trovatore).


Siurina to miss two performances of ROH Rigoletto

Russian soprano Ekaterina Siurina has withdrawn from two performances ofRigoletto at Covent Garden on the 7th and 21st April due to personal reasons. Gilda will be sung at these performances by Lucy Crowe, marking her debut in the role.

The British soprano made her debut with The Royal Opera as Belinda in Dido and Aeneas in March 2009 and returned to sing the role of Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier. Other appearances include the aforementioned role of Sophie for Bavarian State Opera and in Berlin; Adina (The Elixir of Love), Poppea (Agrippina) and Drusilla (L’incoronazione di Poppea) for ENO and Mystery/Juno (The Fairy Queen) for Glyndebourne, in Paris and New York. Future plans include the title role in The Cunning Little Vixen for Glyndebourne and Servilia (La clemenza di Tito) at the Metropolitan Opera, New York.

Ekaterina Siurina will sing the role of Gilda as scheduled on 30 March, 2, 4, 11, 17 April at 7.30pm and 14 April at 12.30pm.

Keenlyside out of ROH Figaro

Simon Keenlyside has withdrawn from the role of Count Almaviva in the Royal Opera’s forthcoming revival of Le nozze di Figaro on doctor’s orders. He is replaced by American baritone Lucas Meachem, who made his Royal Opera debut as Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas in 2009. He has previously sung  the role of Count Almaviva with San Francisco Opera and Bavarian State Opera in Munich.  His other appearances have included the title role inDon Giovanni (Glyndebourne Festival Opera, in Santa Fe, New Orleans and San Francisco), the title role in Billy Budd(Paris Opéra), Oreste in Iphigénie en Tauride (Teatro Real, Madrid, and Lyric Opera of Chicago) and Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette (Metropolitan Opera, New York).

In a refreshingly honest email to ticket-holders, new ROH boss Kasper Holten admitted that:

‘However, I am aware that you might have received a number of these emails from me lately about cast changes for other productions and may be again disappointed.  We do all we can to avoid changes to the announced cast, but illness is of course out of our control, and we have been very unlucky this winter Season.  Please let me assure you that we do not take these matters lightly.’

The Royal Opera is offering ticket-holders the chance to exchange Figaro tickets for any other ROH production currently on sale within the same price band or higher, subject to availability. For more information or to exchange, please contact the Box Office on +44 (0)20 7304 4000.

Holten concludes: ‘I do hope to see you at Le nozze di Figaro and that you will not get more emails from me any time soon.’




Netrebko pens Traviata sicknote!

Anna Netrebko's two scheduled performances in The Royal Opera's January leg of its La Traviata marathon have been cancelled due to surgery to alleviate pain in her foot. The news has yet to be confirmed by the Royal Opera House, but have been posted on Netrebko's facebook page. She has also cancelled a number of January concerts in Germany with Erwin Schrott (3rd, 6th, 9th). The cancellation of her Traviata dates will be particularly keenly felt given that she missed three of her 2008 performances as Violetta due to a bronchial condition. Ironically, Ermonela Jaho, who stepped in to save the show in 2008, is the Violetta for most of the run and is likely to plug the dates for the ROH on the 17th and 20th. They were Netrebko's only scheduled Covent Garden performances this season.

The German concert dates have been rescheduled.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 26 February 2013 18:11 )  

Recent Reviews

Puccini: Tosca

Renée Fleming, our hostess with the mostest at the Metropolitan Opera’s latest cinema relay of Tosca a few weeks ago, urged us – as ever – to experience opera first-hand and to ‘come visit the Met’ or to support your local opera company. The Opera Britannia excursions budget wouldn’t get you as far as York, let alone New York, so my local company it was and performing the same opera too. Tosca is very much the safe, financial bolster to Welsh National Opera’s Tudor trilogy in its autumn season – a crowd-pleaser of a production excavated from 1992, but which seemed even older.


Humperdinck: Hänsel und Gretel

And so to Milton Keynes, pursued by a perishing wind fit to crack the famous concrete cows. The Milton Keynes Theatre, as a venue, is one of the jewels in the ATG crown, big enough to house almost any touring product, with spacious and well-designed auditorium and foyers. Unfortunately it is marooned in one of those soulless retail areas surrounded by a sea of mediocre chain outlets which offer the same tat or that which passes for food in a thousand other identical areas the world over. Whether it was position or the icy blasts which accounted for the poorly populated house is hard to say.


Mozart: The Magic Flute

For all the risk-taking in the operatic world, productions which are guaranteed bums-on-seats bankers are like Nibelung gold. To scrap not one but two such productions is a brave move for English National Opera this season. We shall see what Christopher Alden inflicts on Rigoletto in the spring, replacing Jonathan Miller’s famous Little Italy staging. Meanwhile, Nicholas Hytner’s much loved production of The Magic Flute has finally been laid to rest (after a few ‘absolutely your last chance to see’ revivals), replaced with this new one by Simon McBurney and Complicite.


Shostakovich: The Nose

Described at the time as “an anarchist’s hand grenade,” The Nosewas not well received and soon disappeared from view, although Malko, one of Shostakovich’s teachers at the Conservatoire, recognised the quality of the score. It was composed in 1927-28 and given a concert performance, against Shostakovich’s better judgment, in 1929: “The Nose loses all meaning if it is seen just as a musical composition. For the music springs only from the action...It is clear to me that a concert performance of The Nose will destroy it."



ENO goes widescreen

After resisting the prevailing tide for opera houses beaming their wares to a worldwide cinema audience, English National Opera has seen the light. From 2014, selected productions will be screened at 300 cinemas around the UK and beyond, starting with its revival of David Alden’s production of Peter Grimes, starring Stuart Skelton. A new production, by Terry Gilliam, of Berlioz’s Benvenuto Cellini will also be relayed. Gilliam’s earlier Berlioz adventure, The Damnation of Faust, was broadcast on television.



Poetry Corner

Biography: Mary Robertson is an Emeritus Professor in Neuropsychiatry at University College London and visiting Professor at St George’s Hospital Medical School, London. Aside from being an opera devotee, Mary is a published poet and photographer.

(New poems added: 04/08/2010)

more >>



News updates

Subscribe to Opera Britannia to receive all the latest news and latest reviews

Signup >>

Around the Houses

Dmitri Platanias will sing the title role when the Royal Opera revives its new production of Nabucco. Mariusz Kwiecien will be joined by Saimir Pirgu in Steffen Aarfing's production of Szymanowski's King Roger at Covent Garden in 2015. The Royal Opera will stage Andrea Chenier in 2014/15 with Jonas Kaufmann, Eva-Maria Westbroek and Željko Lucic.

Anna Netrebko is due to sing the role of Lady Macbeth for a single performance at the Bavarian State Opera in June 2014.

Maria Agresta will sing Lucrezia in Verdi's I due Foscari in the 2014-15 season at Covent Garden. Placido Domingo does the Doge double, adding the baritone role of Francesca Foscari to his Simon Boccanegra.

Corinne Winters, fresh from her triumph as Violetta in ENO's production of La traviata, is to return to the Coliseum next season as Teresa in Berlioz's Benvenuto CelliniMichael Spyres sings the title role in a production which sees the return ofTerry Gilliam to the director's seat, after his Damnation of Faust debut.

. Read More>>

"Around the Houses" concentrates on providing the latest news on future plans for opera companies around the globe, artists schedules, cancellations and interesting snippets of information. We will try and avoid unsubstantiated gossip wherever possible, but all of our sources will remain completely confidential.  If you would like to advise us about potential news for this section, then please feel free to email us at

Coming Soon

Reviews to be published shortly:



CD Reviews

Vivaldi: Catone in Utica (Naive)

Although he claimed to have composed around ninety operas, there cannot be many left in the archives of the Biblioteca Nazionale in Turin for Naïve to record in its ongoing Vivaldi Edition if you discount pasticcios, reworkings and incomplete works. Their latest offering, the fourteenth opera in the series, falls into the latter category, for only Acts II and III of Catone in Utica have survived. The opera was written to celebrate the culmination of his third and final season at Verona’s Teatro dell’Accademia Filarmonica – a profitable success for the composer. Premiered in 1737, it is unknown whether Act I was even written by Vivaldi himself, or whether music by other composers was employed.

Read more>>

Recital Reviews

Anne Sofie von Otter: Alumni Series

Milton Court, 23rd November 2013

When this was first drawn to my attention, such is my regard for the Swedish mezzo that I immediately withdrew from reviewing Albert Herring some two hundred yards down the road in the Barbican, and enthusiastically opted for what I thought was an evening of French chansons and mélodies. What a prospect! Anne Sofie von Otter let loose on Chausson and Debussy, Fauré and Poulenc, perhaps some Gounod and Bizet, with maybe a little Délibes and/or Satie by way of let-your-hair-down encore material. All with her long-term musical accompanist Bengt Forsberg summoning up the necessary style. Rapture guaranteed, for which I arrived fully prepared.

Read more>>

DVD Reviews

Donizetti: Lucrezia Borgia (EuroArts)

Scholars now doubt on Lucrezia Borgia’s credentials as mass poisoner, but Donizetti’s operatic treatment on her historical character would have us believe she spiked drinks with cantarella and laced dishes with deadly nightshade like nobody’s business. Lucrezia, here on her fourth marriage (in reality, her third) to Alfonso d’Este, Duke of Ferrara, is reunited with Gennaro, her long-lost son. Unfortunately, she withholds this vital information from him and from her husband, who suspects her of conducting an affair. It’s as free an interpretation as the lusty television series The Borgias, which never got as far as this in Lucrezia’s marital history, but none the worse for that.

Read more>>

Copyright 09 Opera Britannia
facebook twitter