Change of Gilda at Covent Garden

Change of Gilda at Covent Garden


norman lebrecht

January 04, 2018

Lucy Crowe has fallen sick in the ill-starred ROH Rigoletto.

The Spanish soprano Sabina Puértolas will step in.

Will this still be possible after Brexit?


  • Theodore McGuiver says:

    Of course it’ll be possible, just the way it was before Spain joined the EU. Puértolas is very good, too.

    If there’s concern that such last-minute international replacements might be complicated by Britain leaving the EU, then it’s time to start promoting the exceptional home-grown talent in which our country excels. Very often, it’s only agent pressure which makes houses look further afield.

  • Nik says:

    Why ill-starred? Has anything else gone wrong?

  • Margaret Steinitz says:

    Au contraire, last minute replacements are most often sought from among a list of artists who happen to have the role (in this case Gilda) in repertory. I am all for promoting home-grown talent but sometimes when faced with a cancellation (my heart always sinks when I have to do this) you have to engage who is both available and able musically to take it on. Free movement has facilitated this if engaging someone from among EU Member States, even though a PPE statement will still have to be sought and supplied. Even the Secretary of State is aware of this as she discussed this very issue and the Brexit implications at a recent Culture Select Committee.

  • Patricia says:

    As the Royal Opera is one of the world’s leading opera houses, it will continue to be so, brexit ir no brexit. Prior to 1974, many European international artists appeared regularly –
    What may happen is that littleknown untried foreign singers may find it more difficult.
    In the past, evidence had to be provided of 4/5 international theatres where the artist had already sung, before appearing at CG. Once this had been established, usually there was no problem
    Just have a look at CG seasons before 1974 and you will see mullipke evidence of this.
    Gobbi, freni, Scotto Crespin, Simionato, ,Pavarotti, Bastianini, Ghiaurov, Cossotto, Jurinac, Brouwenstijn Giulini, Abbado, Muti, are some that come to mind

    • Nik says:

      I think Norman was specifically referring to last-minute substitutions, i.e. whether they will be more difficult in future if a work visa has to be arranged.

  • Bruce says:

    I think the idea is that nothing good can happen after Brexit; and anything bad that happens will be worse.

  • John G. Deacon says:


    You appear to be terribly ill-informed about Brexit … so how come you made a decision to be a reMOANer ? The snide remarks are really boring.

    A year after the referendum, and in spite of requests to the few reMOANers we know, we still have not received a single good reason for remaining attached to the corrupt and undemocratic shambles that is the EU ! Have you studied Switzerland’s remarks about this EU this week ?

  • englishman says:

    Sure, they will simply find all their covers and understudies in the fine music conservatories of the Falklands, Bermuda, and Gibraltar!

    • John G. Deacon says:

      Yes, of course, how silly of me ! That’s what they always did before when the great stars of the 50s & 60s appeared so regularly all over pre-“EU” opera houses – they contacted Bermuda. Silly boy.

  • Dominic Stafford says:

    Please stop the scare stories.

    My mother’s last act before giving birth to me was to arrange the replacement of an ailing CG Gilda with Rita Shane.

    If my mother could do this in 1971, with nothing but an analogue phone and a copy of the BA US/UK schedule, whilst undergoing contractions, I’m sure someone of even remotely human capacity can fly a Gilda in from Spain.

    I myself have brought in non-EU artists in less than 24 hours and it has never been a problem.

    Most artists, if working in the UK for less than 3 months, will come in under a COS Tier 5 document. It takes less 30 minutes to apply for this.

    If Norman wants to be really useful, he’ll report on what IAMA and Opera Europa are doing, in partnership with the DCMS and the Home Office, to make sure structures are in place for a similar system to work once we have left the EU (if, indeed, the Brexit is as hard as has been feared).

    As said on Wednesday, Brexit will appear as a mere bump in the round compared to the mountain we will soon climb as a reaction to automation and the introduction of the Universal Basic Income – or something similar – a process that now seems all but inevitable. How we live (and who creates, how we create and how we consume) are all going to change. Not within the next 50 years; but within the next 5-10 years.

    And all those Leave voters who still insist on using the term Remoaners: grow up. You’re not 5.