Tuesday, May 05, 2015

SFO Les Troyens Casting Update

It's NOT about Anna Caterina Antonacci (mostly); you can start breathing again.

Davida Karanas is withdrawing from her scheduled performances of Cassandre owing to her pregnancy. Two of those performances, on June 12 and 20, will be sung by Michaela Martens, American mezzo-soprano.

Antonacci is taking the third performance, on July 1, in addition to her already-scheduled performances on June 7, 16, and 25.

Here's the press release:
SAN FRANCISCO (May 5, 2015)—American mezzo-soprano Michaela Martens will make her San Francisco Opera debut as the prophetess Cassandra in the Company’s upcoming production of Hector Berlioz’s grand-scale opera Les Troyens (The Trojans) on Friday, June 12 and Saturday, June 20. San Francisco Opera today announced that Martens replaces mezzo-soprano Daveda Karanas, who has withdrawn from the physically demanding role due to pregnancy.
Italian soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci, who was previously announced to sing three performances of Cassandra on June 7, 16 and 25, has now agreed to add a fourth on Wednesday, July 1. Antonacci, one of the most sought-after and acclaimed European singing artists today, also sings the principal role of Cesira in the world premiere of Marco Tutino’s lush and highly dramatic opera Two Women (La Ciociara) for five performances on June 13, 19, 23, 28 and 30.
Recent and upcoming career highlights for Michaela Martens include Gertrud (Hänsel und Gretel), Marilyn Klinghoffer (Adams’s The Death of Klinghoffer), Judith (Bluebeard’s Castle), Kundry (Parsifal), and the Second Norn (Götterdämmerung) with the Metropolitan Opera; Gertrud with Munich’s Bavarian State Opera; Herodias (Salome) with Santa Fe Opera; Ortrud (Lohengrin) with the Vienna State Opera and in Graz; Kostelnička Buryja (Jenůfa) in Zurich; Judith, Marilyn Klinghoffer and Kostelnička Buryja with English National Opera; and Amme (Die Frau ohne Schatten) with Lyric Opera of Chicago and in Graz. Additional credits include performances with the Cleveland Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony, Chicago’s Grant Park Music Festival, and Spoleto Festival U.S.A. She is a past winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and holds a degree from the Juilliard School.


Anonymous said...

Well, this is interesting. She got tremendous reviews as Marilyn Klinghoffer at the Met, both for voice and for acting. And anyone who sings Ortrud and Kundry probably has the chops for Cassandre. My only reservation would be that it looks like she has never done the role before -- I wonder if she'll have enough time and rehearsal to work her way into the part.

This might even be an improvement, although who can tell: Daveda Karanas seems, as the saying goes, to be available for a limited number of cancellations.

So Antonacci is going to perform on consecutive days: June 30 and July 1. Brave woman!

The Troyens online cast list has been brought up to date, but is still incomplete: no mention of who sings Ascanius, or Hylas, or Pantheus, or the Ghost of Hector, not to mention the bit parts. Also, no choreographer is credited, which I desperately hope does not mean that they are cutting the dances (if they did, the show would be about a half hour shorter).

The sfopera.com page on the production now contains a very interesting interview with Antonacci -- maybe it's translated from French or Italian, but if it was originally in English her English is awfully good. The final paragraph, comparing the lives of film and stage actors, is a hoot.

Anonymous said...

> you can start breathing again

There's a famous episode from the Old Met. Rudolph Bing walks out in front of the curtain and the audience groans. He says, "First, I am pleased to announce that Miss Tebaldi is quite well and will sing tonight [sigh of relief from audience]. Mr. Gobbi is also well and looking forward to performing for you [bigger sigh]. We have, unfortunately, not been so lucky with our tenor. Mr. Barry Morell is indisposed and unable to go on tonight, so the role of Cavaradossi will be sung by Franco Corelli [general pandemonium]."

Lisa Hirsch said...

I have to check out the interview!. A press inquiry might get the rest of the casting, and I am reviewing, so perhaps I will ask.

Yeah, I think...well, Karanas also withdrew from last year's Norma, so....I have nothing more to say except that I was expecting this.

As for the replacement of Barry Morell by Franco Corelli, grounds for rejoicing indeed! Not the same, but in 1981, Adler (I guess) had to announce that Margaret Price was unable to sing Aida that night; however, Miss Leontyne Price, in town for a run of Trovatore, had graciously agreed to sing in her place.