Just in: The Met replaces Macbeth, again

Just in: The Met replaces Macbeth, again


norman lebrecht

September 29, 2019

Having parted company forever with Placido Domingo, the Met efficiently inserted a respected Serbian baritone, Željko Lučić, in the title role for the entire run.

But something happened, and they are not saying what.

Last night, Željko Lučić was replaced by Craig Colclough, who made his Met debut.

The correction slip contained not one word about Craig, except that he’s American and a bass-baritone.

The performance started half an hour late for what were described as ‘technical reasons’. This may have been time needed to introduce the singer to the conductor. The soprano Anna Netrebko was not told of the switch.

Our man on the spot says Colclough had an uncomfortable start but steadily grew into the role.

Colclough has sung recently at Covent Garden, Dallas and at Antwerp, where he had a noted success as Macbeth.

That’s him in a selfie on a Belgian train.

He was Domingo’s original cover for the role at the Met in which case he must have known his way around the set.


  • John says:

    The Met remains crippled, disfunctunal and poorly managed by current Board and Administration

  • Yes Addison says:

    Unless the introduction of Colclough to Armiliato involved a lot of prolonged hammering, I don’t think it was the reason for the delay.

  • BM says:

    Apparently, he was boo’d before singing a note. Stay classy, Placido fans.

    • Yes Addison says:

      He was. That may have actually helped get the crowd on his side. He got a very warm response at the end.

    • healthlaw says:

      It was one a-hole that I heard, boo’d him when he first appeared, and then one more boo after his first aria. After that, he either was won over or just went away. As Colclough settled in, his singing got better and his his performance was very moving. When a jewel fell out of his crown during his aria, he (I assume spontaneously) turned kneeling and picking it up into a beautiful piece of character-expanding stage business. The duets especially were magnificent (he did have an awfully good partner there!!). He earned and fully deserved the great curtain call he got, in my opinion.

    • M2N2K says:

      It may be possible that those booers were Lučić’s fans.

    • John R says:

      Of course, they were NOT booing him! They were booing the loss of Domingo; DUH!

  • dpubke-sharp says:

    Lucic would have been a rock-solid replacement, They screwed-up big-time there, and replaced him with a no-namer. Unbelievable incompetence.

  • Lucylyric says:

    Could it be as simple as Lucic was not available on Saturday night.? He was never scheduled for it.

  • Anon says:

    Lucic sang opening night and then he needed a night off to rest, which is understandable. That’s why there where 2 MacBeths in the 1st place. Since Lucic took Domingo’s place, there had to be someone to take HIS place on the alternate performances, and that was Craig. No mystery, no suprise.

    • Sandeling says:

      The first performance was at the 25th and the second at the 28th, so 3 nights in between. Why could Lucic not sing both performances as Domingo was supposed to do?

    • Marel says:

      Anon, “then he needed a night off to rest?” Surely you must be joking. Opening night was on the 25th, the following show was on the 28th. Do the math.

    • Nelly says:

      The first performance was at the 25th and the second at the 28th, so not one but three nights in between. Why could Lucic not sing both performances as Domingo was supposed to do?

  • Ms.Melody says:

    I was there last night.
    The baritone has a really beautiful, rich dark voice. Unfortunately there were times when he didn’t produce enough volume and wasn’t audible over the orchestra. On the whole, I think he did really well considering he had to go on with virtually no rehearsal.
    Netrebko was her usual, uneven self, producing some really weird sounds and then singing beautifully the next moment. The unpleasant surprise was Polenzani and Filianotti, really weak and wobbly. The delay was caused by technical difficulties backstage. Overall, it is amazing that the show is going on at all considering all the troubles, but isn’t there a more attractive production of Macbeth that Met can borrow from someone?. This show is just so difficult to watch.

  • fred says:

    heard him as macbeth in antwerp, he was EXCELLENT!

  • La Roche says:

    Anyone who has been involved in an opera season as long and complex as the Met‘s has had cases of replacements of replacements, and has had to make „least bad“ choices. There are not a great number of top / star singers in circulation.

    Domingo was removed in part due to public opinion expressed in fora such as this one. Now you have the consequences.

    To think that the rest of the cast, especially the leading lady, was not informed is pure ignorance, or bad faith. In her tweet she implies that there was no time to rehearse. Armchair experts, please note: this can happen too.

  • John R. says:

    BTW, to be a Cover at the MET definitely does NOT mean you “know” the SET, nor that you have EVER actually walked on it, and, almost certainly, never on the stage with the other principles. Most rehearsals, esp of revivals like Macbeth, are done in other locations (than the Stage) and with only a few scattered bits of the set. Secondly, covers rarely even get a rehearsal in these situations–other than musical, esp. when someone is as dependable as Domingo has always been.
    COVERING, at the MET, is not for “sissies”!!! -much harder than being first cast.

  • Divalicious says:

    Norman… what do you mean by … “He was Domingo’s original cover for the role at the Met in which case he must have known his way around the set.” At The Met it isn’t alway guaranteed that covers know their way around the set as often they go on after only watching (if they are the house cover) or a walk thru if they are another big name that gets flown in at 11th hour……

  • someonewhoknows says:

    Željko was sick. His cover went on. The curtain was late because the matinee of Manon is four hours long and the quick change-over between operas can run into difficulties. This is not uncommon and not some conspiracy ..

  • Jason S. says:

    I was at Saturday night’s performance. Mr. Colclough made a very successful debut. He has a very nice voice, with a warm and resonant tone. I vastly preferred him to the other two previously scheduled singers. It was odd though, that the announcement in the program simply said that Mr. Colclough would be singing the title role in his Met debut, with now word as to why the scheduled singer,
    Željko Lučić,had canceled. They didn’t say he was ill or canceled due to the perennial “personal reasons”.
    At any rate, the audience was not short-changed.

  • MomeRath says:

    I was privileged to be present at this performance. The delay seemed to be due to technical problems with the stage given that there were several carpenters working on the stage platform in full view of the audience during the delay. As for Mr. Clocough, whom the Met’s Season book indicates had never sung at the Met before, a last minute slip inserted in the program announcing his appearance met with astonishment among many given that it appeared that no one had ever heard of him. I expected that everyone would be sitting on the edge of their seats praying that he would be able to just get through the night without embarrassing himself. While his performance may not have achieved the “A Star is Born” moment, he came pretty close to it. He projected his deep resonant bass baritone voice with drama and passion and seemed to be very comfortable and seasoned in the role, and, as the night progressed, he exuded more and more confidence and took more and more risks in both voice and dramatic effects. The audience gave him a rousing stranding ovation at the end with numerous curtain calls. This is not to say that he stole the show. As usual, Netrebko did that, but she clearly made every effort to support him.

  • Chesty l'Aida says:

    Lucic called out due to illness. The delay was due to the huge changeover from Manon to Macbeth with short time between the two operas. Manon was done around 5 pm.

  • Yet another David says:

    There shouldn’t be any issues with Colclough. I saw him do a very fine Falstaff for Opera Vlaanderen in Christopher Waltz’s staging a couple of years ago.