Panic at Paris Opéra as Antonenko fails

Panic at Paris Opéra as Antonenko fails


norman lebrecht

April 04, 2019

The Latvian tenor Aleksandrs Antonenko is having a bad year.


In January he quit Covent Garden after appalling reviews as Gherman in Tchaikovsky’s Pique Dame.

Then he crashed out of the Met after the first act of Saint-Saens’ Samson et Delilah, making way for Gregory Kunde’s unexpected comeback.

Now he’s pulled out of Verdi’s Otello in Paris after a single unhappy performance.

A panic call to Robert Alagna persuaded the local hero to sing the role tonight, but for one night only. He’s got a Carmen coming up next week.

Who’s next? Why Gregory Kunde. He’s subbing on Sunday, having not sung in Paris since 1995.





  • John Groves says:

    James Lee might sing it? (See Lodz)

  • Caravaggio says:

    Antonenko appears to have burned out. Pity. But the world has to be content with Otellos with expiry dates long behind them? This is what happens and will continue happening as singing standards keep nosediving.

  • Cantantelirico says:

    Panic? There wasn’t enough evidence that Antonenko was having trouble two years ago at the Met? Why wasn’t a cover dressed and waiting in the wings? Otello should remain on the shelf until a right voice for the role presents itself. There is not a true Otello on the planet and there hasn’t been for at least 25 years. Alagna? Please!!!!

  • olivia nordstadt says:

    even that info is out-of-date; salsi is out of the Baden-Baden performances that precede the concert and is to be replaced by Vladimir stoyanov; presumably stoyanov will sing the two Berlin performances

  • Anonymous says:

    It should now be self-evident that there is a crisis in the teaching of opera singing, especially in the preparation of singers for the heavier lyrico-spinto and spinto repertoire.

    But a surprising majority of casting directors still insist that there are more good singers now than there ever were in the past. Until their attitude changes, expect to see more and more cancellations, such as this, and abrupt endings to careers.

    To be noted especially is that many young singers are now paying enormous sums of money to attend conservatoires (and private teachers) who are equipping them with poor techniques that will inevitably lead to an early vocal deterioration.

    Much of this can be easily fixed. The transition to a classical, bladed, technique is relatively simple; but the opera houses have to lead this process. It will never be born out of the conservatoires.

    And they need to hurry up!

  • Kunde has sung in Paris since 1995. Eneé at Chatelet in Les Troyens early in 2003 with John Elliott Gardner and Benvenuto Cellini for the John Nelson recording and concerts December 8 and 11, 2003(the 200th Anniversary of Berlioz’ birth.)

  • Limaccia says:

    Just watched the Met’s streaming of that 2018 Aida, and Antonenko was ghastly! Just ruined the performance for me.

    • I wish it weren’t true, but after the first act I couldn’t watch any more. Yet after watching Boris Godunov today, it’s as if he were a different tenor then. Like Marina Poplavskaya, the collapse of a terrific voice is tragic.

    • benjamin says:

      but on the upside in the Met were anita and anna; I was at AA’s last try in NY (I had heard him inCavPag at ROH in 2015. He made no impression, at least not as bad as in Aida

  • M. G. says:

    I couldn’t agree more. It was appalling. But I am listening right now to his performance in 2010 Boris Godunov Met production and he sang very well! He seems a completely different singer.