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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Another Juan Bites the Dust

Rehearsal accident sidelines Mariusz Kwiecien.
Disabled Don: Mariusz Kwiecien will
not sing the premiere of the new Don Giovanni.
Photo by Nick Heavican © 2011 The Metropolitan Opera.
Baritone Mariusz Kwiecien suffered a back injury during the Monday, Oct. 10 dress rehearsal of the Metropolitan Opera's new production of Don Giovanni. The staging, by Michael Grandage  is scheduled to open on Thursday night.

The singer suffered a back injury during the opening scene of the first act: a night-time swordfight between the libertine Don and the Commendatore, played by bass Stefan Kocan. According to an eyewitness who was at the rehearsal, Mr. Kwiecien and Mr. Kocan "were dueling. Something popped" during the energetic sequence.

Mr. Kwiecien was strapped to a back-board and removed to a nearby hospital. The rehearsal continued with the "cover", (baritone Dwayne Croft) in the title role. The eyewitness said that Mr. Kwiecien was conscious, in good spirits, and said "See you Thursday!"

Unfortunately, that won't be the case. In a roster shuffle, Mr. Kwiecien has been replaced for Thursday's performance by Peter Mattei, who last sang the role at the Met three years ago. Dwayne Croft will remain the cover. Mr. Mattei is currently under contract to sing Figaro in the Met's fall of Il Barbiere di Siviglia. (Review here.)

Peter Mattei (right) as Don Giovanni at the Met.
Photo by Ken Howard © 2009 The Metropolitan Opera.
Meanwhile, in an update by New York Times reporter Daniel J. Wakin, Mr. Kwiecien underwent back surgery for a herniated disc on Tuesday. His doctor says that the singer's prognosis is "excellent." We here at Superconductor would like to wish Mr. Kwiecien a swift and speedy recovery.

With Mr. Mattei trading in his straight razor for the Don's champagne glass, the role of Figaro will be taken over by Rodion Pogissov, who is also scheduled to sing the role of the barber in the company's spring run of the opera. Gerald Finley will sing the spring performances of Don Giovanni

The Superconductor review of Don Giovanni (with or without Mr. Kweicien) will appear following the Oct. 17 performance. Meanwhile, a preview of the production can be found here.
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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats

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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.