In LA, a singing couple comes unstuck

In LA, a singing couple comes unstuck


norman lebrecht

March 27, 2017

Unlike remote and rainswept Bergen, where a star replacement was conjugally found for an unwell soprano, things went awry for the couples at Los Angeles Opera this weekend.

The French bass-baritone Nicolas Testé lost his voice in Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman and no instant sub was available. He had to mime the role on stage while an understudy sang from the pit.

Nicolas Testé’s wife, the German soprano Diana Damrau, was able only to sing one-third of her part.

The conductor was the company’s director Placido Domingo, the production was by his wife, Marta.

Judging by Mark Swed’s review, it was all a bit home-made.



  • Evan Bowers says:

    Wayne Tigges was flown in. Not truly a cover. Bravo for his guts and professionalism.

  • Olassus says:

    LA Opera performs a totally bastardized and discredited edition, despite having 30 years ago premiered the Kaye edition.

    • Simon says:

      Oh come on, there is no single definitive version of the piece. All performances are a hybrid collated from the available material, depending on what the director and/or conductor has in mind. That’s been the case since Day 1.

      • Olassus says:

        No. Michael Kaye got the thing to resolution by the late 1980s. LA Opera premiered this in draft in 1988. At least two commercial recordings followed in the 1990s. Then Jean-Christophe Keck, of Offenbach Edition Keck fame, found a small further piece of the puzzle. Kaye and Keck had differing publishers, though.

        By 2009 it seemed an agreement on a joint definitive edition called “Kaye-Keck” had finally been reached, to be published at exorbitant cost (€400 for a copy of the full score) by Schott. In 2014 a Schott teaser flyer appeared. But still no publication.

        There is no excuse for the Giulietta act preceding the Antonia. That is plainly wrong. And fwiw Kaye-Keck has five “acts,” no prologue or epilogue.

  • ogliolo says:

    Testé is a total joke. I’m sure Damrau demands in her contracts that he gets to sing whenever she performs in an opera. A true Bill&Hillary (or Frank&Claire 😀 ) corrupted couple of the opera world.

  • Holly Golightly says:

    Please don’t describe Bergen as “remote and rainswept”. It is an absolutely beautiful city in a wonderful country.