Met stars crash out of Japan

Jonas Kaufmann and Olga Borodina have withdrawn from the Met’s tour of Japan. Borodina has ‘vocal issues’.

Kaufmann’s excuse? ‘Personal reasons’. Oh, so that’s all right then.

Music director James Levine is already out for all the obvious reasons.

This tour is stating to feel more than a little half-hearted.

The replacements for the two dropout singers are Yonghoon Lee and Ekaterina Gubanova, evidently the best available at short notice.

It does make you wish the Met showed half as much enthusiasm for the visit to stricken Japan as the Korean musicians just did.

 

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  • Well, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website (http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/asia-oceania/japan) is still, as of May 13, advising travelers to beware:

    “This advice has been reviewed and reissued with amendments to the Travel Summary (evacuation zones around Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant). The overall level of the advice has not changed. We advise against all but essential travel to those areas in north-east Japan most directly affected by the March earthquake and tsunami. , , , There is a continuing risk of aftershocks and tsunamis throughout Japan. ”

    Prudence would argue not going. I’d rather not lose any more great singers at the moment, or any part of the Met Orchestra either.

  • The Met should commit itself to the continuation of this tour if it can be thoroughly convinced that there will be no danger to any of the personnel involved in it. That answer seems plain and simple. My understanding is that the even will take them nowhere near the severely stricken areas. The positive? A tremendous outpouring of faith and good will from our nation in the sharing of our culture, something far more convincing than dollars and cents (although those are important as well). I am reminded of a visit by the Chamber Orchestra Kremlin to my former campus in the weeks following the 9/11 attacks. They felt it necessary to perform something in memory of the victims and asked me, the presenter, what I would prefer: one of their “traditional” songs of mourning or the Barber “Adagio.” I chose the former as I knew that it would have meaning for the players and allow us to share in their cultural heritage.

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