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Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2019 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Lady Vanishes

Marina Poplavskaya fades out of Figaro.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Marina Poplavskaya has faded from the picture and stepped down from the 2014
Metropolitan Opera season opener. Photo of Ms. Poplavskaya from the 2013
production of Eugene Onegin by Ken Howard © 2013 by the Metropolitan Opera.
Photo alteration and solarization by the author.
The Metropolitan Opera, currently locked in a standoff with twelve of the sixteen unions that make up the workforce at America's largest opera house, has announced that Marina Poplavskaya has bowed out as the Countess Almaviva of the season-opening run of Le Nozze di Figaro.

The announcement from the Met press office arrived on Twitter yesterday.

Ms. Poplavskaya has been an omnipresent force at the Met during Peter Gelb's reign as general manager, singing the leads in new productions of Don Carlos, Faust, La Traviata and most recently Eugene Onegin.

The cancellation moves up the Met debut of soprano Amanda Majeski, the American artist who sung the Countess to good notices at the 2013 Glyndebourne Festival. Ms. Majeski was originally slotted to make her house debut later in the run.

This new production by Bartlett Sher (a particular favorite director of current Met Mr. Gelb) features bass Ildar Abdrazakov returning to the role of Figaro, the wily barber-turned-valet whose schemes inspire the everyman to rise up against his aristocratic oppressors.

Of course, with the season hanging in the balance, Ms. Poplavskaya's cancellation may be purely academic. Both sides have remained silent this week. However, Mr.  Gelb has stated repeatedly that the opera company will lock out the members of its orchestra, chorus, and stage crew (along with nine other unions that have yet to reach a collective bargaining agreement) on Aug. 17, two and half weeks after the original deadline of July 31.

That lockout on July 31 was narrowly averted, leading to the current extension of negotiations as the Met allows an independent auditor to survey the opera company's books. The results of the audit will be kept private and are non-binding on negotiations.

The Met has not lost performances due to labor problems since 1980.

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