Top Spanish soprano loses Mrs Gelb appeal

The coloratura soprano Maria Bayo was fired at the first rehearsal of Don Giovanni in Bilbao two years ago after the conductor, Kerri-Lyn Wilson, said she lacked volume.

Ms Wilson is married to Peter Gelb, the Met general manager.

Fearing the sacking could damage her career far beyond Bilbao, Ms Bayo sued the Bilbao company for around $100,000 in ‘moral damages’.

And won.

Only now the Supreme Court has overturned her case and all Ms Bayo is left with is legal expenses.

Guess we won’t be hearing her at the Met any time soon.


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  • The moral here is that church sopranos who think they have a right to be involved in opera have no moral right to complain when others complain they can’t be heard. Now, would that the other half paid attention in New York.

    • Dear Caravaggio

      I worked in performances (and a recording) of Ballo in Maschera a few years ago, when Maria Bayo sang the part of Oscar (Oskar?). She had stacks of volume then and her singing was first class. What has happened in the meantime I would not know, but I consider your reference to ‘church soprano’ with her in mind is patently unjustified (Unless of course you have personal experience of her performing)

      • I love & respect Bayo. Oskar yes. But a credible Donna Anna she is not. Hers is a light lyric-coluratura voice. Lovely. But not Donna Anna. Recall that Birgit Nilsson sang it most credibly.

  • This legal story is actually not over because Mrs. Bayo can now go (and she should!) to the European Court of Human Rights, the highest jurisdiction in Europe, which can overturn any national Supreme Court’s ruling:

  • Let’s give Peter Gelb credit for avoiding the appearance of nepotism; Kerri-Ann Wilson has never conducted at the MET.

    IIRC, the late, great Gerard Mortier regularly engaged his partner Sylvain Cambreling wherever he was in charge.

  • Norman: Are you quite certain that she is actually (legally, I mean) married to him? I was under the impression that they were “life partners,” so to speak, but perhaps their status has changed?

    • I doubt that would have worked. In my opinion, Bayo was miscast. Zerlina… Donna Elvira maybe. Donna Anna never. It fits neither her voice, vocalism or personality. Why did she accept the role in the first place?

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