Friday, September 18, 2015


Damrau out, Sierra in:
San Francisco Opera today announced cast changes for the Company’s new production of Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, presented October 8–28, 2015, and for Mozart’s The Magic Flute, presented October 20–November 20, at the War Memorial Opera House. German soprano Diana Damrau has withdrawn from the Lucia production, in order to remain on vocal rest for the next six weeks. American soprano Nadine Sierra—who performed Lucia last spring at the Zurich Opera House to critical acclaim and, more recently, as the Countess in San Francisco Opera’s The Marriage of Figaro—will now sing the title role for all seven performances.
"I am deeply sorry for all of those who had looked forward to my performances in San Francisco and I ask for your understanding,” said Damrau in a written statement. “After 15 years of performing with little or no time for substantial rest and recuperation, along with the demands that come with a beautiful, young family, my body has reached the point when it is now ‘insisting’ that I pause for a short time. … The issue is in no way vocal, but one of exhaustion that the doctors tell me ten weeks of rest will without question fix.” Damrau is currently taking her rest here in San Francisco with her family and husband, French bass-baritone Nicolas Testé who will be making his San Francisco Opera debut in the role of Raimondo.
Sierra’s appearance in Lucia affects casting in the Company’s revival production of The Magic Flute; she was initially to have sung the role of Pamina. Soprano Sarah Shafer, recently seen as Rosetta in the world premiere of Marco Tutino’s opera Two Women, will now take on the first four performances (October 20, 25, 27 and 29) and Sierra will sing the remaining six performances as originally scheduled (November 4, 8, 12, 14, 17 and 20).
Wishing Ms. Damrau a swift recovery from the exhaustion!


Matthew Travisano said...

I have to say I'm not so terribly sad to hear of Ms. Damrau's withdrawal. While she's a very compelling actor I find her voice lacks the Italianate warmth needed for Lucia and tends toward the metallic (her Marie in "Fille" a few seasons back was comic gold but vocally not to my taste).

And the doctor's orders of rest is code for something else perhaps, as in dropping the role? Hate to be cynical but opera singers are rather notorious (as a theatre artist I can say this sort of thing so rarely happens in non-music theatre, but we're also not booked years in advance).

I look forward to Ms. Sierra, but I'll miss the commitment that Ms. Damrau would have brought to the character. Hard when you mount a new production for someone and they withdraw.

Lisa Hirsch said...

I don't think it's code for dropping the role. If she were withdrawing because the role just wasn't working for her any more, I think she would say that. We have already had one withdrawal on grounds of the role being unsuitable - Hampson's from Luisa.