Not just a suit: Opera boss jumps in for sick Don Carlo

Not just a suit: Opera boss jumps in for sick Don Carlo


norman lebrecht

November 24, 2019

Verdi’s opera is laying one singer low after another this season.

In Nuremberg, tenor Tadeusz Szlenkier fell sick on Friday night just before the final performance of the run.

Up popped Intendant Jens-Daniel Herzog, changing into costume to play the Don.

A cover tenor, Hovhannes Ayvazyan, sang out the part from the wings – but he had only ever learfned the role in Italian and Nuremberg was performing the French version.

Somehow, they busked it.

‘Couldn’t have gone better,’ said Herzog.


  • Rogers says:

    A kind of miracle!

  • Mike Schachter says:

    I saw Elisir d’amore at the ENO where both the tenor and his understudy were ill. They found someone to sing the part but knew it only in Italian. So he sang it in Italian while the rest of the cast sand English, until one other singer switched to Italian also. The show did go on and was great fun.

    • Just a member of the audience says:

      The tenor was Edgaras Montvidas and the other singer was Andrew Shore and it indeed was great fun.

  • The harpist says:

    That is some kind of a cover tenor. If he was singing why from the wings then? Still in Italian in a French version – or did he sing with the notes/text inn from of him. Then again – what a cover.

    Saw a Siegfried inKiel once where pretty much the entire cast was sick that the stage director had to play the dragon. Siegfried partially sang most of it from the pit but the duet.

    And a Zauberflöte (I think in Hamburg) where the the Queen had to sing from the pit as she had broken her leg and could not be on stage (some climbing involved). Stage director stepped in – the beard on the Queen was disturbing…,