Soprano cries off with Housemaids Knee

Soprano cries off with Housemaids Knee


norman lebrecht

June 13, 2011

Glyndebourne has announced the withdrawal of French soprano Sandrine Piau from Handel’s Rinaldo because she has a bad knee.

That’s a new one to me. I’ve known singers to pull out for anything from polyps to pregnancy, but the knee has very little to do with the vocal apparatus – at least, it didn’t the last time I checked a soprano’s anatomy.

Think of Joyce DiDonato who sang her way through Barber of Seville on a broken leg. Joyce would not have broken stride for a twisted knee.

So why’s Sandrine pulling out of Glyndebourne? What’s the real story?

All credible submissions will be treated with the appropriate discretion.


Press release follows:

Glyndebourne Festival Opera 2011 – Cast Change Announcement

Owing to an unfortunate injury to her knee, Sandrine Piau is unable to rehearse the role of Almirena in the new production of Rinaldo. The role will performed by Anett Fritsch, except for the performance on 9th July which will be sung by Miriam Khalil.  Glyndebourne wishes Ms Piau a speedy recovery.

Anett Fritsch Soprano


Glyndebourne debut

Notable engagements: Mimi/La bohème (Stadttheater Bielefeld); Frasquita/Carmen (Oper Leipzig); Marzelline/Fidelio (Tiroler Festspiele); Valencienne/Die lustige Witwe, Pamina/Die Zauberflöte, Gretel/Hänsel und Gretel, Constanze/Die Entfuhrüng aus dem Serail, Blanche/Les dialogues des Camélites, (Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Düsseldorf); Pamina (Tiroler Festspiele); Gianetta/L’elisir d’amore, Flower Girl/Parsifal, Sandman, Dew Fairy/Hänsel und Gretel (Opera Leipzig); Flower Girl (Anhaltinisches Theater Dessau);

She has been a soloist in oratorios and cantatas by Bach, in Haydn’s Creation, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Zelenka’s Magnificat, Mendelssohn Bartholdy’s Elias and Orff’s Carmina Burana. She was a prize winner at the International Chamber Opera at Schloss Rheinsberg and in 2001 she won the first prize at the Johann Sebastian Bach Competition in Leipzig. She has sung Messiah in Bonn, Brahms’ German Requiem at the Tiroler Festspiele and was part of a Handel live broadcast with MDR Kultur (MDR German Radio).

She was born in Plauen, Germany. She studied at the Plauen Musical Conservatory and the Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Music Academy in Leipzig.

Miriam Khalil Soprano

Almirena/Rinaldo 9th July

Glyndebourne debut

Notable engagements: Musetta/La bohème (Edmonton Opera); Susanna/Le nozze di Figaro (Opera Lyra, Ottawa); Mimì/La bohème (Opera Hamilton), Laura/Luisa Miller, Confidante/Elektra (Canadian Opera Company), Leah/Swoon (World Premiere), Pamina/Die Zauberflöte (COC Ensemble Studio); she created the role of Elizabeth D’Aulnières in Charles Wilson’s World Premier of Kamouraska (Opera in Concert, Toronto). Other roles include; Rosalinde/Die Fledermaus; Governess/The Turn of the Screw; Micaëla/Carmen; Dido/Dido and Aeneas; Electress Marie/Der Vogelhändler; Carolina/Luisa Fernanda. Concert and Oratorio works include Ravel’s Shéhérazade; Brahms’ German Requiem, Mendelssohn’s Elijah; Bach’s Christ Lag in Todesbanden; Vivaldi’s Gloria; Mozart’s Requiem; Pergolesi’s and Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater; Handel’s Messiah.

Forthcoming engagements: Highlights for her 2010-11 season include singing Mahler’s Rückert Lieder, Canadian composer Omar Daniel’s Neruda Canciones with The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Governess/The Turn of the Screw with Against The Grain Theatre (Toronto), and her debut with Pacific Opera Victoria as Frasquita/Carmen.

She studied at The Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music and the University of Ottawa.  In 2007 she won first place in the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions for the Great Lakes Region.  She is a recent member of The Steans Institute for Young Artists in Ravinia, The Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme, and the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio.

Rinaldo opens on 2 July and runs until 22 August. The new production Rinaldo is currently sold out, please call the Glyndebourne Box Office for returns 01273 813813.

For press enquiries please call the Press Office on 01273 812321 or email



  • So sorry to be pernickety, but would love to know the source of your information regarding the relative lack of seriousness and the nature of Ms Piau’s indisposition. Do tell us!

  • Leesheen says:

    Very disappointing news. I’m almost certain she also pulled out of the McVicar Giulio Cesare at Glyndebourne too.