Netrebko tells the Met she won’t sing Norma there, either

Netrebko tells the Met she won’t sing Norma there, either


norman lebrecht

April 26, 2016

After cancelling her role debut at Covent Garden this September, the diva has told the Met to forget about Norma in 2017-18.

‘I have come to the unfortunate conclusion my voice has evolved in a different direction,’ she repeated.

anna netrebko

Next month, she sings Elsa in Lohengrin in Dresden. That’s the way she’s heading.


  • Dominic Stafford Uglow says:

    Don’t take her singing Elsa as an indication she will move into Wagner in a big way. Elsa is a lyric role. Studer was an Elsa for example, as was Sutherland…

    • Anon London says:

      Strauss and more Tchaikovsky I hope. She’ll be a perfect Liza and Ariadne.

    • John says:

      I don’t believe Sutherland ever sang Elsa, except for the Act I Dream in concert and on record. She did sing Eva at Covent Garden, long before she ever sang Norma (the title role – she regularly sang Clotilde in her early years at Covent Garden).

  • James says:

    Elsa? Seriously?

    Well, as Flagstad said, ‘…ending your career with Wagner.’

  • pooroperaman says:

    ‘I have come to the unfortunate conclusion my voice has evolved in a different direction’

    For ‘voice’, read ‘ego’.

    • Nick says:

      It’s not unusual for an artist to accept a new role years in advance and then discover nearer the time that something does not fit. Janet Baker accepted the role of Alceste with Scottish Opera for performances at the 1974 Edinburgh Festival. As she started to learn the role, she found problems with the tessitura and eventually pulled out. Julia Varady took her place. Yet she was later able to sing it as part of her farewell from the opera stage – although I believe some of the performance was a half-tone lower.

      • Una says:

        That was 1974, and I was a member of Scottish Opera. Things were a bit different in those days, and less money involved and hype as well as less travelling on jet planes. We’re 40 years down the line now. Janet Baker always put the good of the music first, never herself, and always felt her voice was a gift she had been given. A totally different scenario and you just cannot compare dear Janet Baker and her situation or voice or outlook on the singing profession with the likes of Netrebko and her ilk. We are in more commercial times, and everyone, including myself, having their say on the internet!

    • Luk says:

      I don’t get this comment.
      Norma is a role for absolute stars, ego would probably advise her to sing that role no matter what.

      Netrebko has probably accepted the role several years ago as for the ROH, and the voice is an organic instrument that can change a lot in three-four years.

  • Bill Worley says:

    If CG can’t find a replacement and I think we all know that will prove challenging given the relatively short notice, would it be easier for them to ask Netrebko what she would like to/or be prepared to sing so they get her but in a different opera. Although this solution would be disappointing to opera goes as Norma has not been seen, apart from a concert performance, for nearly 30 years it could be seen as a way forward.

    • Philip Lawford says:

      Such a suggestion might be seen as pandering to a diva – which indeed it may well be. However I remember back in (I believe) 1977, Jon Vickers cancelled appearances as Tannhauser on moral / ethical / religious grounds; the ROH replaced the opera with Otello, with substantially the same cast, in which Vickers gave a blistering performance – only my 2nd or 3rd visit to the ROH, but one I’ll never forget.

      • Oscar Gil says:

        Yes, but Vickers was Vickers, and undisputed great artist, whereas Netrebko is only Netrebko, an over-hyped diva.

      • Dominic Stafford Uglow says:

        One can name numerous examples when a production changed to suit the artist (Domingo: Andrea Chenier/Otello would be another); but that was then and this is now. Today’s opera houses, and today’s business are very different.

  • Dan Boccanegra says:

    Both Sondra Radvanovsky and Angela Meade sang the role at the Met last season, I believe it was…Bill Worley is getting his information, ‘off-kilter…..