Aussie Dutchman ditched by double defection

Victorian Opera has lost both star leads in next year’s Flying Dutchman.

Both Petra Lang and Vitalij Kowalijow have withdrawn due to the ‘challenges of the vocal range of the demanding parts’.

Didn’t they read the score, or even listen to it, before agreeing to sing? Even among opera excuses this sounds fishy.

Their replacements are US aspirant Lori Philips and German trouper Oskar Hillebrandt.

Yo ho, to ho.



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  • Both Lang and Kowalijow have obviously heard about the problematic conductor, and Philips and Hillebrandt would be advised to make some enquiries before it’s too late (although “withdrawing” mid-production, as the conductor has before, doesn’t seem to be a problem in Melbourne).
    How can anyone take him seriously after the Ring debacle?
    Helps to be your own boss/employer.

  • There’s no reason why Petra Lang (or anyone else for that reason) should want to sing in Melbourne.

    It has often been claimed that Ava Gardner described Melbourne as “the perfect place to make a film about the end of the world.”

  • The Victorian Opera would not have offered the roles to Petra Lang and Vitalij Kowalijow had they done the homework. The casting was incompetent.

    Richard Mills’ forte is as a composer (Summer of the Seventeenth Doll, Batavia and The Love of the Nightingale) and not as a conductor or artistic director. His appointment to conduct the Melbourne Wagner Ring for Opera Australia was for his lack of any prior Ring experience. He wisely bailed out mid production, reportedly over artistic differences with an experienced Wagnerian artist. Prior to that, the much anticipated Strauss Elektra for Western Australian Opera, conducting a reduced band, was a lacklustre, small scale affair.

    Its easy to see why opera is in decline, given the people who are running companies today. WAO’s recent decision not to perform Carmen, because a key sponsor, a (anti-smoking) heath organisation, is yet another example of why opera is fast becoming irrelevant and a joke in Australia.

  • I wonder if Ms. Lang has informed Saarbrucken that the role isn’t right for her….I believe she is slated to sing Senta there later this season……

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