Saturday, September 19, 2015

Who's Next?

Major cast changes at SF Opera so far:
  • Thomas Hampson withdraws from Luisa Miller after deciding that the role of Miller isn't for him.
  • Gerald Finley withdraws from Sweeney Todd on account of impending childbirth
  • Diana Damrau withdraws from Lucia di Lammermoor on account of exhaustion
  • Phillipe Sly withdrew from The Magic Flute on account of family needs
  • Nadine Sierra, stepping into Lucia for Damrau, withdraws from several performances of The Magic Flute (Okay, good on her for jumping in.)
This makes me....nervous...to contemplate the cast of Die Meistersinger, which is full of singers new to their roles, including Brandon Jovanovich (Walther), Greer Grimsley (Hans Sachs), Rachel Willis-Sorensen (Eva), Sasha Cooke (Magdalena), and Alek Shrader (David). Uh, that is most of the leads.


Matthew Travisano said...

Wow, I didn't realize that there were so many role debuts. I'll say Mr. Jovanovich is the most likely. I was a little surprised to see him cast as Walther (not a role I associate with a lyric tenor). Then again he's apparently singing Enee for a Chicago "Troyens" he's rumored to be in next fall. And that's heldentenor-ish as well. To debut Walther and Enee in the same year is that bold? (I'm not a singer). He's scheduled to be singing "Meistersinger" in Paris after SF. Maybe he skips SF and debuts the role then.

Thanks for providing a fun outlet for opera nerds who actually follow this stuff.

Darrick Chen said...

I certainly hope Jovanovich does NOT cancel. I swore never to see Meistersinger again. I couldn't believe how long it was and how slow it moved. I saw it with an excellent cast, so I know it wasn't due to the singers - my Walter was early Heppner and Eva was Mattila. I have a ticket because of Jovanovich. The rest of the cast doesn't interest me, so if he cancels, I'll be trading that ticket in. Just trivia: I believe I looked this up a while ago; Act I of Meistersinger is as long as a full performance of Tosca without intermissions. Something to think about.

The only opera I am hoping everybody shows up for is Don Carlo. It's my favorite Verdi opera and SFO has put together a truly first rate cast. The only singer I'm not familiar with is the Eboli.

Last season, cancellations were good news. :D

Enjoy the 15/16 season!

Lisa Hirsch said...

Jovanovich has been singing a lot of helden-ish roles: Florestan, Don Jose, Bacchus, Lohengrin, Siegmund. No reason to think Walther will be beyond him.

My nerves are just general: everybody is new, what if someone has discovered the role does not really work for his or her voice? The primo is on November 21 and I'll be reading the SFO press release with some concern.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Matthew, what voice type do you associate with Werther? I've seen the opera only once, with Ramon Vargas, and it has been sung by tenors as light as the great Alfredo Kraus.

Matthew Travisano said...

True on Jovanovich. Florestan is a beefy role as is Bacchus. I've only heard him live in 'Il Tabarro' before he turned to heavier stuff so I still think of him as lyric. But his sound isn't really the same heldentenor as a Peter Seiffert or Robert Dean Smith.

Werther is prime Krauss (if on the light side). Carreras' sound as Werther was in that same category. Lately Jonas Kaufmann (another tenor SFO cannot seem to book) has made it a calling card but he's also singing Wagner, Verdi, and Puccini. Kraus mainly stuck to lighter bel canto and French stuff as I recall and Carerras was not really suited to the Puccini roles he sung in my humblest opinion. I heard Vargas in one act of the SF 'Werther' (I walked out I was so bored by the production). He's reminiscent of a Carreras.

JSC said...

Plus Daniel Sumegi taking over for Rafal Siwek as Count Walter in Luisa Miller and David Curry replacing John Easterlin as Pirelli in Sweeney Todd.

Lisa Hirsch said...