A Romanian professor saves the Met’s Tosca

A Romanian professor saves the Met’s Tosca


norman lebrecht

March 19, 2019

Jennifer Rowley called in sick for last night’s performance.

Meet understudy Iulia Isaev, who made a last-minute Met debut.

UPDATE: First review here.

Isaev has been singing for years at Bucharest National Opera and teaching at the university there. She was made full professor in 2012.


  • batonbaton says:

    I have heard Iulia a few times during visits to Bucharest and have been impressed – hopefully this will lead to further opportunities for her.

  • Michael in Missouri says:

    I actually heard her at the Vienna State Opera, as Donna Anna, many years ago and was likewise impressed. Good for her!

  • guest3 says:

    I was there last night! She was great!

    Calleja (who sang despite sickness) and Wolfgang Koch were fantastic as well. I’m befuddled by the audience’s indifference to Koch (as he didn’t get as big ovation as the other two). While he did do more voice acting in Act 2, I found it compelling. Who knows…

    • tristan says:

      too German for this role

    • Guy Rigby says:

      I agree with your comment about Wolfgang Koch. I saw the matinee last Saturday and thought he was excellent .. better in fact than Calleja who I found to be a little stiff and his voice not as lyrical. Koch’s interpretation of the role was fantastic… devious, menacing and evil. He and Rowley were by far the stars for me.

  • AndrewB says:

    Always good to see someone get their opportunity to shine so brava Iulia Isaev and let’s wish Jennifer Rowley a return to full health too.

  • barry guerrero says:

    Judging from this, she has a somewhat ‘dark’ tone quality. I think she’d make an impressive Tosca.