In Karlsruhe, the soprano sings at seven months’ pregnant

In Karlsruhe, the soprano sings at seven months’ pregnant


norman lebrecht

April 23, 2018

To give perspective to Hamburg Staatsoper’s excuses for sacking a soprano at four months pregnant, consider the case of Layla Claire who (we hear) sang the title role of Alcina at seven months at the Händel-Festspiele Karlsruhe in February.

Layla and her baritone husband John Chest welcomed the birth of their second child on April 17.

John will sing Pelléas at Glyndebourne this summer.

Our congratulations to the happy family.



  • Anon says:

    No stage flyovers in that staging, so horses for courses.

  • John Edward Niles says:

    I have heard Layla Claire and she is very good. I knew that she was pregnant and I am so pleased that she got this break–as opposed to the rather stuffy folks in Hamburg.

    • V.Lind says:

      Nothing stuffy about preventing a some-months pregnant lady from doing aerial activity over a stage — there are safety factors in play, not least the shaking about of a foetus.

      • Yes Addison says:

        Exactly. It isn’t hard to name singers much farther along than four months who sang performances. People keep posting videos, and they’re of productions that would not raise any liability red flags. There was also Latonia Moore at about seven and a half months in the Met’s stand-and-deliver Aida in 2016.

        The options in Hamburg were restaging Pamina’s scenes in the production or getting someone who could do it exactly as Frau Steckel devised it without risking a miscarriage. They took Option B.

        I’m sure if Fuchs does sing the Poppeas in Zurich in June, the topic will return and people will present it as evidence that Hamburg made the wrong call. But all productions are not created equal.

  • Sue says:

    A beautiful little family. Congratulations.

  • RW2013 says:

    Didn’t Maestra Young conduct performances when she was 10 months pregnant?

  • May says:

    Can we please move on from this subject? It was unsafe. Period. Hamburg has offered her future performances in exchange. End of topic.