Soprano falls sick. Baritone’s wife happens to be a world star….

Soprano falls sick. Baritone’s wife happens to be a world star….


norman lebrecht

March 27, 2017

At Bergen National Opera on Saturday, Sylvia Schwartz sang the opening performance as Fiorilla in Il Turco in Italia to reat acclaim. However, she has since fallen sick. What to do when the next performance is just two days off?

Just so happens that the baritone singing the role of Selim, Guido Loconsolo, brought his wife to the show.

She is Nino Machaidze, coloratura superstar. She not only knows the role – she’s even the right size for the costumes.

Bergen is in for a big night tonight.

We also hear that the conductor of Il Turco, Domingo Hindoyan, had brought his wife, Sonya Yoncheva. Just in case.

We may have to update our latest power couples list.


photo: Uli Weber/Sony


  • abracadabra says:

    Sonya Yoncheva

  • EricB says:

    This kind of thing happened in a Eugene Opera production of “Merry Widow” I sang in some 30 years ago : on (Public) Dress Rehearsal, the lead soprano lost her voice, and warned in the morning that she wouldn’t be able to sing that evening.

    The tenor had brought his wife along for the period (who also was a soprano, but no star like in the article, but as she had attended a good number of rehearsals, she was aware of the staging. She also had sung the role before (but I can’t remember whether she had sung the original or english version). During that long day, she had to undergo costume fitting, and a review of her music and text, and jumped into the rôle, with tremendous success. She only slipped her words in the famous waltz. So she saved that night ! The next day, on Opening night, the planned soprano was still unwell, so the husband’s wife repeated the performance !
    Gee, what a job is opera singing !