Watch: Belgian soprano saves Salzburg’s TV Flute

Watch: Belgian soprano saves Salzburg’s TV Flute


norman lebrecht

August 07, 2018

The young coloratura Emma Posman made an unscheduled national TV debut on Saturday night after Albina Shagimuratova called in sick three hours before curtain-up on Magic Flute.

Posman, 23 and unseen yet on any major stage, received a strong ovation as Queen of the Night. ORF reported 230,000 viewers for the relay.

It is reported in some print media that there was no other soprano in Mozart town that night who knew the role. Hard to believe.


  • Mike Schachter says:

    You just can’t get the help these days..

  • Martain Smith says:

    She sounds better here that the first cast did on the premier eve!

    • Pierre says:

      Belgium has some very high level singing classes in both public (IMEP in Namur, Gent Conservatory, Bruxelles), and private (Chapelle Reine Elisabeth) schools! We’re very lucky!

      One of our best “home-grown” sopranos, Jodie Devos just sang the Mozart Requiem at the Mostly Mozart festival in New York!

  • Sanity says:

    Lucky for them that there was at least someone there to sing the role; but this is not good singing.

    A shame that a very young and unprepared singer was put in this position.

    • The View from America says:

      We’re glad you liked it so much.

    • barry guerrero says:

      It’s a very silly opera anyway. All that Papageno and Papagena stuff – along with the bird catcher song (aria) – it all drives me nuts. ‘Children’s’ versions of it make more sense to me, even if it does have hidden Masonic code for adults.

  • Bruce says:

    If they could get her into a costume and familiarize her with the staging that quickly, I am going to guess that she was already the understudy/ cover for the production, not just some random soprano off the street.

    • Larry says:

      Excellent point – I can’t imagine a TV production would not have understudies on standby. Certainly at the Met, understudies are required to be no more than 30 minutes away from the house when they’re on call and are required to be IN the house for radio/TV broadcast days.

    • John Rook says:

      I find this logical. I don’t know about Salzburg, but Bayreuth has in-house covers for pretty much every major role, if not every single one (never enquired whether Mary has an understudy, for example). I can’t imagine Salzburg phoned around agents in a panic, looking for a Königin, which, in any case, must be one of the most highly-populated roles in the repertoire.

  • Pedro says:

    According to Forum Opéra, Miss Posman was in Salzburg singing the role in the Zauberflöte für Kinder in the Festival. It was then somewhat easy for her to step in. A natural choice then. And, Norman, even in Salzburg it is not easy to find Queens of the Nights at short notice.

    • norman lebrecht says:

      At festival time?

      • Pedro says:

        The other operas at the Festival are Italiana in Argel, Pique Dame, Bessarids and Salome. No coloratura soprano in any of them, though Grigorian could possibly sing it – but Castellucci’s Salome is too intense for the main soprano to sing in another opera.

  • Florian says:

    Sabine Devieilhe was in town, but I guess she was too busy doing her matinee Mozart programme on Saturday and Sunday.

  • Ms.Melody says:

    The singing is not the best, although she deserves full marks for filling in on a short notice.
    The production looks regie-bizarre

  • Papagena says:

    Absolutely dreadful singing at the hardest part of the aria (shown from 3’49” onwards in the video). When will young singers learn that this is NOT a role for beginners??? I get astonished by the amount of very young sopranos everywhere that actually think they can prepare and sing the Queen of the Night. What on earth are they thinking???