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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

He Won't Be Sailing to America

Star tenor nixes Met Manon Lescaut.
Jonas Kaufmann  and Kristine Opolais (left) will not reunite in the Met's new Manon Lescaut.
Here they sing the roles of Manon and Des Grieux in Munich in 2014.
Photo © 2014 Wilfried Hönl.
Jonas Kaufmann, the German tenor who rose to become one of the most popular opera singers both on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera and in the opera houses of the world, has cancelled his February appearances in New York City, including his commitment to sing in the Met’s new production of Manon Lescaut. The announcement came earlier today.



This afternoon, the Metropolitan Opera press department released the news that Mr. Kaufmann was cancelling his appearance in the company’s new production of the seminal Puccini opera. His substitute: tenor Roberto Alagna. Mr. Alagna will be singing the role of Des Grieux for the first time onstage. The  production stars Kristine Opolais in the title role. Directed by Richard Eyre, it is a collaboration between the Met and the Baden Baden Festival, where it premiered in 2014.

In order to learn the role of Des Grieux, Mr. Alagna will withdraw from his commitment to sing the role of Canio in the Met’s ongoing production of Pagliacci. The tenor will be replaced by Met veteran Marco Berti, who is currently singing the role of Calaf in that company’s current run of Turandot.

The news also affects Carnegie Hall. Earlier today, the Carnegie press department heard the announcement during that venue’s annual press conference and luncheon, at which the 2016-17 season was announced. Mr. Kaufmann is withdrawing from his commitment to sing a recital of songs by Mahler, Britten and Richard Strauss in Stern Auditorium on Jan. 31. The source confirmed that both withdrawals are due to illness.

This incident marks the second time in two seasons that Mr. Kaufmann has not appeared at the Met. He withdrew from his commitment to sing Don José in the Met’s Carmen last  year. He last appeared at the Met in a new production of Werther, also directed by Mr. Eyre.

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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.