SANTA FE, NM – General Director Charles MacKay announced today that tenor Bryan Hymel, who was to have sung the role of The Duke of Mantua in all performances of Verdi’s Rigoletto, has withdrawn from the July 4, 10, and 15 performances. Bruce Sledge, praised as a “clarion-voiced, impressive tenor” by The New York Times for his performance in Maometto II in the 2012 season, will replace him. Mr. Hymel will sing all remaining performances beginning August 4 through August 28.
Mr. Hymel is currently performing one of the most taxing roles of the repertory, Aeneas in Berlioz’s The Trojans, at San Francisco Opera. “With the desire to make a debut with San Francisco Opera in a role that has defined my career and the excitement to return to Santa Fe Opera in a role I love, I now realize I cannot commit appropriately to both performances in San Francisco and rehearsals in Santa Fe,” said Bryan Hymel. “It is in the best interest of both companies, my colleagues, and me personally that I withdraw from the first three performances in Santa Fe. I wish my colleagues there all the best for opening night, and I look forward to performances as The Duke in August.”
“We have all looked forward to Bryan Hymel’s return to Santa Fe following his stellar performances in the title role of our Faust in 2011,” said Charles MacKay. “Since then he has become one of the most sought-after tenors in the world, and we look forward to his return in August with keen anticipation. We feel truly fortunate that Bruce Sledge, another outstanding tenor, is able to step in as The Duke for our July performances of Rigoletto.”
No stranger to Santa Fe Opera audiences, tenor Bruce Sledge made his Company debut as Count Almaviva opposite Ana María Martínez as Rosina in The Barber of Seville (2005). He returned to rave reviews as Paulo Erisso in Maometto II (2012) and was seen last season in the dual roles of Vladimir Vladimirescu and the Fisherman in the double bill of Mozart’s The Impresario and Stravinsky’s Le Rossignol. “Bruce Sledge sang with appealing lyricism as Vlada’s henpecked husband,” said Opera News of his 2014 performance, “then performed to glorious poetic effect as the Fisherman.”Here are the key dates: the last San Francisco Troyens performance is on Wednesday, July 1; the first Santa Fe Rigoletto is on July 4. Rehearsals usually start about three weeks before a production opens (rehearsals for Troyens probably started four or five weeks beforehand, though). So we have Rigoletto rehearsals starting...around June 13, last Friday.
Yes, I think it's a bad idea to rehearse in one opera when you're singing in another 1100 miles away! Not to mention, if you can sing Enée, a dramatic role, do you have any business singing the Duke, which the lightest of light tenors have been known to sing??