Here’s what popped up when Don Giovanni failed to show

Here’s what popped up when Don Giovanni failed to show


norman lebrecht

April 17, 2018

Mariusz Kwiecień was supposed to sing the role at Dallas Opera.

When he failed to show on Friday, Craig Verm made the most of his chance.

UPDATE: We hear that Mariusz has recovered extra fast and will resume the role tonight (Weds).


  • Sharon says:

    Since reading the Boston Globe article about the James Levine cult and the seeing the interview of Ashok Pai on Radar Online which is now on You Tube I have begun to see James Levine as a Don Giovanni.

    Just as Don Giovanni sniffed out the most emotionally vulnerable and then seduced by promising marriage Levine sniffed out the most vulnerable and seduced by promising mentorship flying on his wings which would lead to professional success.

    I strongly suspect that his accusers thought that Levine was too powerful for anything really bad happen to him and had just made their allegations because they wanted some recognition of their pain, prevent it from happening to others, and serve as a wake up call for Levine. Like in the opera they were hoping that the the truth would set everyone free and serve as some sort of emotional redemption for all concerned.

    However, now that Levine is prohibited, probably permanently, from performing anywhere and as the New York Times said, his career has ended “in disgrace” I would imagine that his accusers, especially Pai, are consumed with guilt.

    Don Giovanni was redeemed upon his death but although at one time I believed that Levine could make a comeback in a couple of years if he were physically well enough, I now suspect that not only is his career finished but that his legacy not only now (see the Levine entry on Wikipedia) but also after his death will be overshadowed by this scandal.

    Now everyone’s guilt and regret and remorse probably looks like the expression on Verm’s face.

    Incidentally, does anyone know if Levine’s lawyers actually bought an index number? That is, did they actually arrange for a court calendar date? (not that I expect this to actually go to court). If so, does anyone know when it is? Maybe some of the New York lawyer bloggers can look this up the next time they are in the New York State Supreme Court (That’s what the civil court is called in New York State)

    • Marcus Clayton says:

      It is my understanding that the Met’s lawyers would have had 30 days or so to reply to Levine’s lawsuit. Failure to do so would have resulted in an automatic win for Levine.
      If the Met replied, then a judge would look at the complaint and rule on whether the lawsuit had merit and could then proceed to court if it did.
      I have read nothing from the Met since it released it’s initial response to Levine’s lawsuit, but I can’t believe that the Met’s attorney’s would not have replied to the lawsuit.
      At any rate, I also don’t believe for a second that this will go to court.
      Once Levine’s lawyers find out what was in the Met’s own “internal investigation” into Levine, they will do everything in their power to make sure the sordid details won’t be aired in public.
      I just wonder what the next development will be in this scandal and when and where will we read about it?

      • Sharon says:

        Didn’t Slippedisc report a couple of weeks ago that a seminar in Florida was canceled because Gelb who was a key participant said he could not take the time to go because he was so tied up with the case? The Met was probably figuring out a response or a settlement at that time. Won’t there probably be a non disclosure agreement to any sort of an out of court settlement?
        As far as the “sordid details” are concerned, my reading of Levine’s petition leads me to believe that his whole argument is that the “sordid details” are irrelevant because there was no morals clause in his contract and that anyway the “sordid details” are just an excuse because the real reason for his firing is age discrimination.

  • Henry says:

    Don Giovanni was at least attractive… Jimmy has always had a touch of the bull-frog about him 😉

    • Sharon says:

      Actually, in his younger years he was not bad looking–if you like the teddy bear type. In his interviews on You Tube both in his younger years and more recently, he is very charismatic–mainly because he talked with such enthusiasm.

  • Sue says:

    “Popped up”? Was that a good phrase to use in relation to “Don Giovanni”? 🙂

  • collin says:

    Now getting back to Mr. Verm’s Don Giovanni:

    If Don Giovanni had a body like that (google Verm in Venus and Adonis to get the full effect), Don Giovanni wouldn’t have had to seduce any of those women because they would’ve pursued him instead, and none of those women would’ve felt betrayed because they would’ve known he was a playa (nod to hip hop and its dominating role in classical music today, see Pulitzer, lol).

    What makes Don GIovanni dangerous and slimy and intriguing is precisely because he looks average yet he is able to seduce 1003 women. Mr. Verm’s Don Giovanni looks like he could bed 1003 women in a single month.

    I leave to others to evaluate his singing.

    • CounterTenor says:

      Just saying, but who knows whether it’s 1003 women or 1003 men?

      • CJ says:

        We know from the libretto:
        Madamina, il catalogo è questo, delle BELLE che amò il padron mio…”, i.e. not “belli”!

        • Sixtus says:

          But that is but one catalogue. I’m sure if you raided the office of the Don’s lawyer you’d find others. And videos too. And checkbooks of various payoffs.

          • anon says:

            The Don’s hands look kinda small.

            Là ci darem la mano…

          • Petros Linardos says:

            But for all that you need a well vetted search warrant. And Don Giovanni was only a womanizer, not a crook.

          • Petros Linardos says:

            Ooops, I forgot: he was also a front stabber. But I don’t think he obstructed justice, laundered money, funded a fraudulent university, ran a fraudulent foundation, yada yada yada… He was also not a racist and not a snob.

      • John Rook says:

        CV is as straight as a die.

        • Bruce says:

          I think we’re talking about the character, not the singer. (I remember seeing a production on TV where Don G. kisses Leporello on the mouth – not so much in an “I love you” way but in an “I can do anything I want, with – or to – anyone” way. The Leporello character did not enjoy it.

  • Bruce says:

    Craig Verm is a terrific singer & actor. Hopefully Dallas will realize they ought to hire him as a first choice, not just as a cover.

    • Suzanne Calvin, Dir. of Media & PR, The Dallas Opera says:

      We have, Bruce, we have! Craig sang the role of Doug Hansen for The Dallas Opera in our critically acclaimed 2015 world premiere production of Joby Talbot and Gene Scheer’s “Everest,” one of the finest contemporary operas I’ve ever experienced. In the current “Don Giovanni,” Mr. Verm was cast as Masetto and also agreed to serve as Mr. Kwiecien’s cover for the title role. When he stepped into the role of Don Giovanni last weekend, Andre Courville then assumed the role of Masetto. We are extremely fortunate to have a “deep bench” of phenomenal artistic talent at The Dallas Opera.