Anne Sofie von Otter cancels Berlin after family tragedy

The Swedish mezzo has withdrawn from Barrie Kosky’s upcoming Komische Oper cabaret I wish I was a chicken, following the tragic death of her husband Benny Fredriksson.

The production has been postponed to next season. Kosky said: ‘We deeply regret Anne Sofie von Otter’s loss and wish her and her family much strength during this difficult time. We fully understand that she is currently unable to work on this project, and are all the more pleased that, despite everything, she has already signalled her interest in a later staging of I wish I was a chicken!’


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  • I wonder whether somebody with a sounder grasp of English grammar than I have would be able to explain why the title is ‘I wish I was a chicken’ and not ‘I wish I were a chicken’ using the subjunctive mood. Thank you.

    • I was also immediately struck by your same observation about the grammar of the title: “I wish I was a chicken” (…were a chicken)…but thought, “Oh, well, comedy as it sounds, they can start with the title. Just a thought…..

    • That’s interesting. Thanks. I know it has nothing to do with the tragic story contained within the main post, but it puzzled me! I didn’t know that Americans constructed the subjunctive in a different way. Barrie Kosky himself is Australian, so perhaps they have departed from the standard UK grammar.

      • Americans don’t. “I wish I were a chicken” is correct American usage, whether or not many people actually use it. But of course language and usage evolve, and what was once frowned on becomes standard, to be used widely while offering opportunities for snobs to carp.

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