Sicklist: Villazon cancels the Met

Rolando Villazón has withdrawn from Mozart’s Don Giovanni this month and next, citing illness.

His understudy Paul Appleby, a Met Young Artist, steps in as Don Ottavio.

Villazón was the prime draw in a cast that features Simon Keenlyside in the title role, Hibla Gerzmava as Donna Anna, Malin Byström as Donna Elvira, Adam Plachetka as Leporello and Kwangchul Youn as the Commendatore.

It would have been Villazón’s first appearance in a Met Live in HD screening.




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  • I am surprised that you say Vallazon was the prime draw. Surely Simon Keenlyside (possibly one of the greatest Giovannis today) would be a greater draw.

  • Paul Appelby graduated from the Met programme maybe four years ago… He’s a very well-established international artist now.

    • Exactly! This is really insulting to Paul Appleby. Did the Met’s press release really refer to him as the “understudy” and a current Met Young Artist? I doubt it. He has sung leading roles in several productions there since he graduated from the program.

  • Hurray, and the understudy is being used and given a chance. About time these opera companies, after appointing understudies, then used them. In my day that was the whole point of a understudy and you had to know your part … not be appointed an understudy and then never go on.

  • Like John says, Paul Appleby already has an international career, and is no longer a “mere” member of a training program as this article implies.

  • Paul Appleby is hardly an understudy. He has been in the line-up of Ottavios since the season was announced (and before, obviously) and is the scheduled Ottavio for the matinee of October 15. He was one of four fine tenors listed to do the role from the start.

  • Isn’t a young man’s ill health of more concern than who gets top billing or whose feelings were bruised by a critic?

    Is Villazon seriously ill? Is this a recurrence of the problems that detoured his career several years ago?

    We wish him restored health and a swift return to the Met.

  • Villazon’s career is over. It was over many years ago.
    He should go back to Mexico to work as a circus clown. That’s where he belongs.

    • Wow. I just came upon this comment randomly as I was looking up information about Villazon. Your immature and disrespectful comments about an accomplished singer who has reached a level of professional success only accorded to a remarkable few made me sad. Clearly, you must love and appreciate music, specifically opera, if you’re reading this page. But evidently your soul is lagging far behind your ear.

      • Excellent response….it never ceases to amaze me how quickly conversations deteriorate online. Villazon is a human, not a machine. And how fragile we are…I wish him the best.

    • What a negative atittude and altogether deplorable.
      On the one hand you don’t like music, and on the other hand you are racist/xenophobic.
      I believe you were inspired by your emperor.

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