Opera star cancels festival after attempted robbery

Opera star cancels festival after attempted robbery


norman lebrecht

August 10, 2016

The Bulgarian mezzo Vesselina Kasarova has pulled out of the Innsbruck Festival of Ancient Music, where she was due to sing Fidalma in Cimarosa’s rarely-seen Il Matrimonio Segreto.

A festival statement said Vesselina had returned home to Switzerland to recover from being attacked late at night by two unknown persons who tried to snatch her handbag. It is not clear where the attack took place and whether the attackers were apprehended. The festival said certain details were being withheld.

The Italian mezzo  Loriana Castellano, who has appeared in other Cimarosa works, has learned the role with a few days to spare, saving the production.


vesselina kasarova


  • Olassus says:

    Innsbruck, Linz, Salzburg — these cities are no longer safe. There are many strangers roaming around. Police are outnumbered, lazy, fearful. Political consensus to direct their efforts is evaporating, and we wonder what lies ahead.

    • Emil Archambault says:

      There was a mugging in St Andrews, Fife, Scotland, the other night as well. The city is no longer safe. There are many strangers (there are students from 120 nationalities during term time) roaming around. Police are outnumbered (they only patrol in pairs – gasp!).

      Clearly we need a massive deployment of Fife Police in St Andrews to stop the wave of (one) crime from foreigners (although there is no evidence of foreigners being involved in this case, nor in Ms Kasarova’s). Clearly we need armed police officers in the streets, not just parking constables. What do I say? Send in the army! The future of Western Civilization is at stake, because *one* petty crime clearly demonstrates a mortal assault on the future of humanity.

  • Fred says:

    make that the whole of Western Europe, courtesy Frau Merkel and most other politicians, it’s time for a new Nuremburg trial for politicians and bankers

    • Anne Marie says:

      Don’t be such an alarmist. Statistically we live in safer times than ever before. It’s thanks to the never ending media brainwashing that people like you think otherwise. Get a grip.

      • M von Kolinahr says:

        Totally agree – even despite recent events, statistically there were actually far more people hurt or killed in terrorist attacks (for example) in central Europe in the 1970s (for example) than there are now – and on the whole, personal safety there also still remains relatively high. I find the knee-jerk attacks on “Frau Merkel” from a few commentators on Slipped Disc to be embarrassingly naive to say the least, and frankly I would have expected a whole lot better on here. Whatever mistakes she may have made, Merkel in particular has one hell of a lot more intelligence and integrity than most politicians, and despite everything it was also interesting to note that a recent poll in “Der Spiegel” showed that the vast majority of Germans do not personally blame her for the way certain things have gone since the refugee crisis, including issues of personal safety. In particular, any suggestion of a “Nuremberg Trial” for her would be unbelievably inappropriate and utterly tasteless. (Given the embarrassing existence of politicians such as Farage and Johnson, such commentators, if from the UK, would need very much to look to their own first in any case, I feel.) It’s a shame about Vesselina Kasarova in Innsbruck, though, those provincial Austrian cities (cf. comment from Olassus, I’ve been to all of them) never used to be like that all the (15) years that I was living in Munich… where I’m back again now, for a brief visit, and also forming my own impressions of things (including day-to-day impressions on the street) after several years away.

      • Una says:

        I got mugged on my own doorstep in Bow, London, in March 2009, in a built up area. I was just getting my key in the door, having returned from seeing Lohengrin at Covent Garden that night. I had three broken ribs, a slashed eye, a broken finger and multiple bruising and cuts, and was in the Royal London Hospital for nearly a week – just what you need as a singer as I am – and two operations. It was terrible – all for £7 I had in my bag and a book on opera. He got caught but not before he tried to beat up two men. I have never forgotten it as I was trapped in my own small front garden, he came from nowhere and luckily he didn’t have a knife or I’d not be writing this. I just got severely hit in the face instead and all the rest, so I can understand if she had to withdraw if she had been half as hurt as I was. The shock is awful, particularly if you are street-wise as I am. What happened to me was unheard of, and the poor neighbours were absolutely horrified, let alone my family when they heard and my work colleagues. It was not the area where anything like this would happen but it did. And here too now in West Yorkshire, some terrible things as well of people getting set upon. Poor woman. Wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

        In the meantime, here is another nice interview done by Bruce Duffie in Chicago between him and Kasarova.


        • M von Kolinahr says:

          Hello Una – we exchanged some (completely unrelated) musical views just here a few months ago, not sure if you remember that or not. Very sorry indeed to hear about what happened to you in 2009, that would have been just awful for you, I can only begin to imagine how I would have felt in such a situation. It’s been a little while since I was last in the UK myself, from all accounts things seem to have got a lot trickier there than they used to be. My aunt was a long-serving member of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in Glasgow, and when I was first living in Europe I had a number of lovely visits there hearing her play – at the time, I was perfectly happy wandering around the city as well, but these days I believe the Golden Mile around Buchanan/Argyll St is choc full of heroin dealers in full view of everyone, which certainly represents a major change; 20-odd years ago I don’t think I saw a single one. I think I’d be rather wary of going there now if that’s what it’s turned into.

          Here in Munich, which was always a relatively safe city in the years I lived here (although I was in a threatening situation on two very isolated occasions, in one case a local, the other time someone from former Yugoslavia), it seems comparatively little has changed in such respects. The place seems much the same as ever, although one certainly notices the increased immigrant presence here, for example – though even when I left here 11 years ago, immigrants from the Middle East (other than Turkey, I mean) had already become increasingly prominent. Munich in particular has a reputation of being an open, tolerant city, and (according to what my friends tell me too) it all seems to be just business as usual here. I’ll be in northern, provincial Bavaria next week, attending a certain music festival, so I will see what things are like there; of course up there have been the recent incidents near Würzburg and in Ansbach, which, although isolated incidents once again, would have been that much more unlikely at the time I was living here, as was the knife attack on the suburban train just outside of Munich a few months ago.

          Again, my deepest sympathies for what happened to you a few years ago, it sounded horrible. Thank you for the link to the Bruce Duffie interview; I have never seen Ms Kasarova live, but I did see her in the video of Berlioz’s “La Damnation de Faust” from the 1999 Salzburg Festival, and liked her a lot in that, so I’ll check out the interview later. Best wishes, then.

      • Anton Hunger says:

        People like you take part of the destruction of our continent – shame on you

  • Lachera says:

    Looks like a bit too flimsy explanation.

  • Emil Loparsky says:

    She was attacked by arab migrants, they hit her head in the wall. Now she is at home, going better. Merkel, Hollande, Juncker opened the Europe door for millions barbarous and savages from Africa and Middle East! Veselina Kazarova warns the young european ladies, girls to be aware always, when goiing out ! Europe is not save any more….

  • ketzel says:

    Here’s a link to the Bulgarian article, which refers to two men of Arab appearance. There’s a “translate” button. Thank you for reporting this, I’ve checked all the usual opera blogs, and so far they haven’t mentioned it, maybe because a diva being mugged by immigrants causes them political embarrassment, so why say anything?


    “The world-famous mezzo-soprano was attacked Tuesday night by two young men with Arabic features in the center of Innsbruck. “