Just in: Star soprano quits ex-husband’s Covent Garden opera

Just in: Star soprano quits ex-husband’s Covent Garden opera


norman lebrecht

May 08, 2018

Kristine Opolais has pulled out of next month’s Lohengrin.

‘Following a routine abdominal medical procedure, I must take a break for a few weeks to ensure a full recovery,’ she tweets in remarkably bureaucratic English.

The production is conducted by her recent ex-husband, Andris Nelsons.

UPDATE: Her replacement is a newbie


  • Rog says:

    You really are the master of the unspeakable insinuation. And I don’t mean that as a compliment.

  • Herr Doktor says:

    I’m a big fan of this blog and Norman Lebrecht in general. But I agree with Rog, writing this headline as NL did diminishes him and Slipped Disc.

    Perhaps this is being done to encourage clicks and thus the financial success of the website, but regardless, NL has shown a recent tendency in headlines to make insinuations that are inconsistent with the actual content. Whether or not that is a “marketing decision,” it’s lowest common denominator behavior. We shouldn’t be normalizing bringing others down for personal gain in some form or another.

    Let’s be better than that.

    • Karen says:

      Not just the headline. You missed another insinuation in the text: “she tweets in remarkably bureaucratic English.”

      • norman lebrecht says:

        Nothing is insinuated. Both are simple, factual statements.

        • Rog says:

          (1) What has the headline got to do with anything? Why is it relevant that Opolais used to be married to Nelsons? Please explain.
          (2) ‘She tweets in remarkably bureaucratic English’ is not a ‘simple factual statement’. It’s an expression of opinion. Please explain the purpose of it.
          You see, otherwise, it would be all too easy to conclude that you are seeking to insinuate that there is more to Opolais’s withdrawal than meets the eye.
          And I’m sure that, as a responsible journalist, you wouldn’t want to give that impression without having very good cause to do so.

        • Karen says:

          You mean “she tweets in remarkably bureaucratic English” is a factual statement? That is bold. What if someone doesn’t find her statement bureaucratic at all? Are they living in a different universe than yours?

          Indeed, I find her wording so unremarkable that it’s strange an ordinary sentence like this should prompt such a remark from you.

          • Rog says:

            NL claims to see ‘simple, factual statements’ where I see weasel words (appropriately enough).

  • Rob says:

    They’re both Scorpios. Let’s hope there’s no sting the tail.

  • anon says:

    What is a “a routine abdominal medical procedure”?


    Because there is no such thing as “routine” when it comes to abdominal medical procedures.

    • anon says:

      Because if it truly is “routine”, then it must be elective, and if it is elective surgery, why did she choose to undergo such a procedure right at the time of Lohengrin with her ex-hubby?

      Simple questions. No insinuations.

      • Rog says:

        Pure speculation on your part, in fact. A routine abdominal procedure might equally have been necessary to deal with a condition causing debilitating pain. I don’t know. But the point is that neither do you. And the reference to her ‘ex-hubby’ (ghastly term: why not ‘former husband’ or (if you must) ‘ex-husband’?) does indeed reek of further insinuation.

      • Max Grimm says:

        To what Rog posted above, I’ll add that it most often seems to be the surgeon’s schedule, as well as the hospital’s schedule that are the primary determinants in scheduling the date and time of a procedure.

        • me! says:

          I agree, at first blush there are no “routine abdominal surgeries”, but by routine she means often done, routinely done, and a myomectomy (removal of uterine fibroids) is routinely done and would require a month of abdominal rest (so as not to break stitches, re-injure area) – because no surgery is really routine and is painful and requires a healing period. She is entitled to her privacy, and gave out more than enough info — one doesn’t have elective surgeries just to get out of performing with one’s former life partner!

  • Hanna Nahan says:

    Why any of this should be a surprise, coming as it does from the suppurating ego such a carbuncle on the backside of the music industry, is hard to ascertain….

    • Bill says:

      Do you really think flattery will work with Norman? 🙂

    • Rog says:

      If ever I find myself in danger of taking anything that Mr Lebrecht writes at all seriously, I always go to the ‘controversies’ section of the Wikipedia article on him.

  • John says:

    She’s Kristine Opolais- even if the surgery is elective, she’d have had to have cancelled something, no matter when the operation was ultimately scheduled.

  • Sue says:

    I can perfectly understand why Ms. Opolais would want to avoid working with her newly-ex’d ex. And I wondered if she’d be up to the task of anything by Wagner anyway.

    • Rog says:

      But there is nothing whatsoever to suggest that that is why she has withdrawn. You are effectively suggesting that she is, or might be, lying about her reasons for withdrawing, with no evidence for that suggestion. What put this in your mind? Not NL’s headline and choice of words, by any chance?

      • Sue says:

        No, what put that into my mind is that she may have tactfully been trying to withdraw because of her relationship having deteriorated with her estranged husband. It happens, you know. And I also suggested she may not be up to singing Wagner.

        • Rog says:

          OK, but that still doesn’t explain why you feel able to speculate publicly, and without a shred of evidence, that she might be ‘tactfully’ lying about her reason for withdrawing, or engineering the timing of an operation to provide a cover for her ‘real’ reason. It’s exactly this sort of damaging tittle-tattle that NL seems bent on engendering.

  • Jane Susanna ENNIS says:

    She is recovering from an operation. There is no need to make insinuations about her private life. I didn’t even know she’d been married to Andris Nelsons. It may well be that they are still on friendly terms. I wish her a speedy recovery.

  • Nik says:

    According to Operabase, this was supposed to have been her first opera performance since June 2017 when she sang Rusalka in Munich.
    Does anyone know if this is true, or is there just some data missing? If it is true, there must have been a reason for this long break, and perhaps the cancellation is related to that?

  • Mister New York says:

    Whether or not the headline is good or bad, the real answer is : Who Cares? In the world of opera where mediocrity reigns these days, either one of these so called stars could be replaced easily and very few in the audience would know the difference.

    • Bill says:

      I misplaced the URL for your website, could you remind us of when you are next performing? I’m eager to hear what a real star is like!

      • Athos_CRO says:

        I love this argument: What have you done…
        Well she is P R O F E S S I O N A L!!!!!! She does this for money. Money that is beeing paid also from MY TICKETS that are bloody expensive! So is my right to demand top quality and to complain if I don’t like it!
        As I don’t accept from chef to ask me how I cook, nobody will ask me how I sing when I critisize a mediocre singer that came through only cause of her look and after 3 years she is off, cancelling the performances cause her petty voice is already ruined!!!
        I can not sing, but I can hear. And I hear the difference between Opolais and Freni, Zeani, Kabaivanska etc.

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    If you people are so miserable reading NL’s headlines and alleged “insuations”, why do you bother! Why not do something more productive with your time? Really.

  • Athos_CRO says:

    Hahahahahahahaha. All the Opolais mediocre fans offended and 2 days later Times published the same story.