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Bryn Terfel is out for months with vocal fatigue

December 13, 2017 by norman lebrecht

16 comments.


The Welsh baritone has pulled out of the Met’s ill-starred Tosca on New Year’s Eve and of a Boston Symphony concert in February ‘as he continues to heal and rest following vocal fatigue’.

For Tosca, read total disaster.

Everyone in the cast has been replaced, some twice over

Jonas Kaufmann, hired as Cavaradossi, scratched in March, saying he didn’t want to spend so much time away from his family. Vittorio Grigolo stood in.

Kristine Opolais pulled out in June for ‘personal reasons’. Sub: Sonya Yoncheva.

Her husband, the conductor Andris Nelsons, followed suit. James Levine stepped in. He was fired for well-known reasons.  Emmanuel Villaume and others will fill in.

New Sir Bryn has scratched Scarpia.

Zeljko Lucic joins the makeshift cast.

Who’s next?


Comments (16)

  1. Sanity says:

    Now, Grigolo is a vast improvement on Kaufmann; but Cavaradossi? At the Met? At least he’ll be able to sing the piani tenuti in O dolce mani!…

    1. M2N2K says:

      No living tenor would be a “vast improvement on Kaufmann” when he is in good health.

  2. Ungeheuer says:

    The new Tosca as house of cards in a house of cards. Someone should take advantage of the story within a story concept for a future production.

    1. Bruce says:

      They could cast 3 different sopranos, 3 different tenors, and 2 baritones for the lead roles. Each one could sing one act, and then “cancel” for some reason.

      There might even be a way to do the same thing with the smaller roles. Doesn’t Spoletta leave and return during Act II? He could be a different singer when he comes back (and again at the “there she is” moment at the end). Ditto for the prisoner guy at the beginning.

  3. Sue says:

    Hope you get back your form soon, Bryn.

  4. Tristan says:

    I do not feel sorry for them as what a disastrous artistic direction by Gelb who knows so little (similar to Pereira who p.e. offered Norma to Renée Fleming!!)
    Why throwing out a TOSCA that worked well for the average taste of the Americans?
    Vienna has an old production that still serves well and just think how many great ones sat on the sofa…from Tebaldi to Price, Scotto to Kabaiwanska to name a few great Tosca singers with the right voice for it)
    Bondy was a great director but for TOSCA the wrong choice! They now had to change it to some donors pressure, right?
    The greatest Cavaradossi has pulled out (does he maybe hate this monstrous like so many others do..?) and prefers singing in wonderful European house, how right he is!
    Munich is by far the best at the moment, especially when fantastic Petrenko is in the pit like this Sunday for Il Trittic. Opolais is no great Tosca, Yoncheva a bit overrated also and everyone is waiting for Netrebko who could be a very good one – Pereira will then speak nonsense again like he did last week saying she in in the league of Callas – how little this man knows about opera!!! Terfel has been sounding tired for quite some time, his Boris a miscast and as Sachs he was tired too. Besides he was never a great Scarpia, lacks Italian colour but at least better than Hampson….
    Voila-this TOSCA is indeed a bit of a home made fiasco for the struggling MET!
    Get the right people in charge but this is not only meant for the MET!

  5. Bruce says:

    The really important thing is to get enough rest before coming back. Of course he must have a huge number of commitments and requests, and may feel the pressure of tickets already sold, etc. And presumably he enjoys performing… but to come back before you’re healed is to ask for trouble no matter what your field is (ask any instrumentalist with a history of tendonitis, or any athlete who’s ever had an injury).

    1. Will says:

      Over-rated anyway… who cares?

      1. Bruce says:

        De gustibus etc.

      2. Una says:

        As a fellow singer I most certainly care – whether he’s over rated or not in you’re opinion or others. I dont like to hear any singer, whether I.like tgem or not, in difficulty. You can’t just go and buy a new instrument if it’s broke. Wish him well and hope he will now choose what he sings with wisdom, and his agent will have even more wisdom to offer the right roles.

  6. M2N2K says:

    Very disappointing, because Terfel as Scarpia was something I certainly was very much looking forward to.

  7. MaryB says:

    I wish the wonderful Bryn Terfel a full recovery, but replacement Zeljko Lucic is far from disappointing. His Macbeth a decade or so ago was my first Met experience and made me an opera lover for life!

    1. M2N2K says:

      That may very well be, but unfortunately ZL is simply not quite in the same class as a healthy BT.

  8. Susan Coley says:

    I saw Bryn in Novembers concert performance of Falstaff.Though no expert I did think that the big aria,Honore,was not as thrilling as when I heard it before.His schedule has had him crossing Europe and the the states,perhaps it is time for him to look after that amazing voice.

  9. Karen says:

    Let’s face it, both (Kaufmann and Terfel) are ageing, and on top of it in new relationships; Terfel new father. At his age probably quite exhausting. There have been contradictory statements online about why Terfel cancels all the time now.
    The latter cancelled the entire Ring (at Vienna Staatsoper) last May due to slipped disc, probably from lifting his newborn baby (and I had tickets, incl. plane tickets). There are newer and better Wotans out there.
    And, as we could see from the MET other Scarpia’s, equally good, if not better (technically).
    As for Grigolo, a better actor, if not singer. I liked the new MET Tosca.
    Just an opinion.


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