The Royal Opera House (ROH) has been left in the lurch by one of the world’s leading sopranos Anna Netrebko who has cancelled only days before the tickets went on sale. She said her voice “had evolved in a different direction” from what was expected of her in Bellini’s opera Norma.
The opera requires singers to not only have power but to be able to hit a rapid succession of high notes.
This is the second time the Russian singer has cancelled leaving the Covent Garden bosses frustrated.Two years ago she pulled out of a production of Faust saying the role of Marguerite was not right for her. She also pulled out of a Bavarian State Opera production of Manon Lescaut two years ago because of “differing artistic perspectives“. At least she’s not been paid in advance – £10,000 a performance.
Apparently it’s become something of a trend for singers to fail to honour commitments.
The head of music at the ROH Sir Antonio Pappano said that modern singers were more likely to cancel compared to previous stars like Placido Domingo. “There is something about this generation of singers,who are weaker in their body or don’t care. For Domingo to cancel he would have to have been on his death bed. It’s a different generation. The attitude is not as good.For us it’s a big deal. It’s star-driven. A contract is taken much more lightly now“.
Anja Harteros, a German soprano has pulled out of three shows at the ROH – La Boheme, Otello, and Don Carlo.
Sir Antonio said singers were being pressured to take on too much work. “There’s so much travelling involved. I think people are overworked. There’s too much stress. A lot of people are getting sicker and sicker. The commitments of the business are bigger. The stakes are bigger. It happens more in the Italian repertoire … it’s because there’s greater vocal risk. I don’t mean to be down on singers – I’m there for them. The job is tough. They have to rehearse more than in the past. I think that singers need to plan more for periods of rest”
They sound like wimps. Look at David Grohl of the Foo Fighters who fell off stage and broke his leg but carried on touring. And he’s not the only one. Give me sex drugs and rock ‘n’ roll any time!