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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Soldier Dodges Bullet

Mathias Goerne steps in for Thomas Hampson in Wozzeck.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Getting the axe: Thomas Hampson has withdrawn from tonight's Wozzeck due to illness.
Matthias Goerne will sing the title role in Berg's opera.
Photo by Cory Weaver © 2014 The Metropolitan Opera.
The Metropolitan Opera has a major casting change in tonight's first season performance of Wozzeck: the title role.

Last night, according to a press release issued today from the Metropolitan Opera, the company approached baritone Matthias Goerne to sing the lead role in the Met's revival of the opera. The eleventh-hour replacement is due to the illness of baritone Thomas Hampson. He is suffering from bronchitis.

Mr. Goerne, who sang a recital last night at Carnegie Hall, agreed to step in and sing tonight's Wozzeck at the Metropolitan Opera House. This is his first performance of Wozzeck at the Met. He has sung the role in other theaters, including the Royal Opera of Covent Garden.

He sang the role last week in a concert performance with the Vienna Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall. As of this writing, he is en route to the opera house for an afternoon rehearsal before tonight's performance.

In a statement on his Facebook page, Mr. Hampson wrote: "I am very disappointed to have to cancel tonight’s performance of Wozzeck at the Met due to bronchitis. I hope to be better soon and look forward to singing this challenging, genius opera."

"What great luck that my friend and colleague Matthias Goerne is in town and is willing to add tonight’s performance to his busy schedule. Wishing my wonderful colleagues, Maestro Levine, and the whole Wozzeck team and of course the audience a thrilling opening night. I will miss being there, be sure."

According to the press release, Mr. Goerne was in the opera house on Monday for the dress rehearsal, so he has seen Mark Lamos' production.

Mr. Goerne will appear opposite Deborah Voigt, who is also singing this opera for the first time. James Levine is still scheduled to conduct, and the rest of the cast: (Simon O’Neill as the Drum Major, Peter Hoare as the Captain, and Clive Bayley in his Met debut as the Doctor) remains unchanged.

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