Close shave: Covent Garden’s Faust is saved by German fly-in

They whisked in Mandy Fredrich from Paris yesterday to sing Marguerite at the opening night of Covent Garden’s Faust.

The intended star, Irina Lungu, had taken ill with flu.

Fredrich, who is German, is presently singing the role in Stuttgart. She landed in London at 15.55 and had just enough time to get costumed up and walk through her entrances before the curtain rose.

It was a close call. And it will not happen again after Brexit.

Lungu, as it happens, was only in the role becauzse Diana Damrau had pulled out.

No British soprano was considered.

Here’s Mandy’s version:

it was unbelievable, actually not doable… jumped out of ice, flight to Amsterdam, flight to London, taxi with assistant (Peter, thank you! ) to discuss the concept, 1 hour before the start of the costume, which was finished 1 min before performance.
Ab in die Maske (Babett eine gute Seele!), derweil mit dem Dirigenten Dan Ettinger (tausend Dank!!!) tempi, Striche etc. besprochen, vor jeder Szene mit dem Regieassistenten (Bruno Ravella, fantastisch!!) kurz besprochen, was ich machen soll.
Meine KollegenInnen – vor allem Michael Fabiano, Erwin Schrott und Stéphan Degout – haben mich liebevoll unterstützt und geleitet. Es gab keinen Souffleur!!!!!!!!
I can’t believe what happened yesterday. I’m happy!!!

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  • It won’t happen after Brexit?!
    Can you explain why?
    Do we know this for sure?
    And since the liberal establishment has effectively screwed Brexit is this comment really necessary?

  • Before joining the EU, a number of singers flew in from Europe at very short notice in the 1960s. I remember performances by Anja Silja (as Leonore in 1967, two years before her official Covent Garden debut), Els Bolkestein (Gilda), Christa Ludwig (Amneris) and Lynn Dourian (Amneris and Carmen) as well as Ernst Kozub as the Emperor in Die Frau ohne Schatten. Alain Vanzo as Rodolfo, Suzanne Sarroca flew in from Paris at very short notice for an Aïda in 1964 and there was the delightful Mizzi van der Lanz as Donna Anna back in 1965. There was a certain amount of frisson about such performances. In those days the Royal Opera House could count on red tape being waved away in the face of such emergencies, will it really be so very different post-Brexit?

    • [[ In those days the Royal Opera House could count on red tape being waved away in the face of such emergencies, will it really be so very different post-Brexit? ]]

      Bwaaaahahahaha!!! I can just imagine how Gobby Tommy’s army of Neanderthal skinhead nutters will respond to your imprecations to let the soprano sing the second half of her cabaletta?? Rees-Mogg’s loony sister will be out on the barricades – the latter-day Diana Mitford.

      You can kiss goodbye to ‘waving red tape away’ while Nigel Barrage and his blackshirts are running the show. He hasn’t been elected, of course – but mere details like that don’t hold a loudmouth thug down.

  • I doubt that philistines like Nigel Farage are in the least bit concerned about matters cultural.

  • I was at that performance of Faust and can confirm that Ms Fredrich carried if off extraordinarily well.

  • It will, of course, depend on what is exactly agreed when Brexit happens. If there is freedom-of-movement then there will be no change to the current arrangements. The EU has insisted that freedom-of-movement is a condition of barrier-free trade.

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