Vittorio Grigolo will sing the role of Cavaradossi for the first time in his career in next season’s much-anticipated new production of Puccini’s Tosca, opening on New Year’s Eve. Grigolo replaces the originally announced Jonas Kaufmann, after the Met learned earlier this week that Mr. Kaufmann was not able to meet his commitments for the rehearsal and performance schedule.
"Our disappointment in losing Jonas was quickly reversed at the prospect of Vittorio singing Cavaradossi," said Met General Manager Peter Gelb. "This season, Vittorio has proven himself to be one of opera's most thrilling performers."The invaluable Michael Cooper had an article about this in the Times in which Kaufmann is quoted saying that he is reconsidering his commitments for "personal and professional reasons," and in which there is also a hint that maybe JK would be available for some performances later in the run.
My translation of this? JK tried to get out of some of his appearances and the Met fired his ass. From Gelb's comments in the Times article, it seems that he quite rightly was concerned that something like this might happen, and he consequently had Grigolo in reserve.
It takes some guts to fire one of the world's most in-demand tenors, one of the few singers who can easily sell out the entire huge Met. I think this was well played by the Met.
And also, I deeply admire the author of the two quietly scorching paragraphs I quote above.
(The balance of the press release tells us about Vittorio Grigolo's recent appearances at the Met and tells us he's wonderful. Good. :)
UPDATED 3/8/2017: A follow-up article on the situation, again from Michael Cooper.