Look who’s deputising at La Scala

Look who’s deputising at La Scala


norman lebrecht

October 18, 2020

Si comunica che a causa di un’indisposizione del tenore Francesco Meli la parte di Radamès nell’esecuzione in forma di concerto di “Aida” di lunedì 19 ottobre (serata Promozione culturale), sarà sostenuta da Jonas Kaufmann.

Il Teatro alla Scala ringrazia Jonas Kaufmann per la cortese disponibilità e augura a Francesco Meli una rapida convalescenza.

It is announced that due to an indisposition of the tenor Francesco Meli, the part of Radamès in the performance of “Aida” in concert form on Monday 19 October (Cultural Promotion evening), will be supported by Jonas Kaufmann.

Teatro alla Scala thanks Jonas Kaufmann for his kind availability and wishes Francesco Meli a quick recovery

In a Covid year, everybody is free. Everyone needs the work.

UPDATE: Francesco Meli has posted online that he has tested positive with Covid-19.

One early comment reads: Che culo!


  • I’am curious to know if it’s the first time that Kaufmann and Chailly work together…

  • Paul B says:

    So what La Scala actually does is acting against any minimum prevention & health measures one should take when a positive case is confirmed: how can they let all the other cast members perform when they were in close contact with Meli?
    Even if all the others would have tested negative today, they could be postive in a few days (one does not test positive in a minute after contact)
    And the fact that Scala says he has an “indisposition” instead of informing properly that he has Covid, trying to hide the dirt under the carpet… Dangerous and shameful!

    • Maurice says:

      And indeed the complete concert Aida has now been replaced with a programme of choruses and arias from Nabucco, Aida and La Bohème with Hartig, Kaufmann and Garifullina, cond. Luisi.

  • Alexander says:

    Qui Jonas verra 😉

  • fierywoman says:

    You know that “che culo” — aside from meaning “what (an) a$$” also means, “What luck!”

  • Bernard Jacobson says:

    Reminds me of the time my wife and I arrived for a Royal Ballet performance and found a slip of paper inserted in the program. We were anxious about a possible cancellation, but were relieved to find that a dancer we’d never heard of had been forced to withdraw and would be replaced by a certain Rudolph Nureyev. (I wondered whether we could ask for our money back!) It was the only time we saw him live – he was perhaps a few years past his prime, but it was still an exciting and memorable experience.

    Bernard Jacobson

    • BrianB says:

      An operatic occasion was when Barry Morell was scheduled for a Met Tosca with Tebaldi; Morell was indisposed and it was the management’s happy task to announce that his place would be taken by Franco Corelli. Substitutions for cancellations were usually announced by the stage manager (Osie Hawkins at the time) but general manager Bing got to make that announcement to ensuing pandemonium.

    • Maurice says:

      Two similar experiences of mine: a long time ago, the lead in-house soprano in I forget what at ENO was ill, but Lucia Popp stood in (being married to Lord Harewood, ENO’s chairman). And in 2014, at Zürich, the Daland in Flying Dutchman was replaced by Martti Talvela!

  • BrianB says:

    “Supported by” is not a correct translation of “sostenuta” in this context. It makes it sound as if Jonas was coaching the part for another tenor. Sustained would be closer but “taken by” is more accurate.

  • Stelucia says:

    I remember when a certain Jonas Kaumann, totally unkown in those days, replaced Roberto Alagna in La Rondine. As Angela Gheorghiu was singing, there was no question to return the ticket. It was November 2004 and his debut is still one of the most memorable I have ever witnessed.