Summer opera faces Rosenkavalier baby crisis

Summer opera faces Rosenkavalier baby crisis


norman lebrecht

January 26, 2021

Garsington Opera has called in the American soprano Madison Leonard to sing Sophie opposite Miah Persson’s Marschallin.

The intended Sophie – British soprano Soraya Mafi – will be having a baby around that time.



  • Gustavo says:

    The truth about the “Hosenrolle”.

  • PA says:

    Not a crisis in my opinion

  • Anonymous Bosch says:

    Miah Persson as Marschallin? Is this a typo? She was a wonderful Sophie not that long ago, but that is a HUGE vocal jump from Sophie’s silvery, youthful stratospheric high notes and naivete to the low-lying, world-weary parlando of the Marschallin, and that deep, soul-searching monologue of the end of Act I.

    Sounds like sending a girl to do a woman’s job.

    • Yes Addison says:

      If you check your dates, you might find that “not that long ago” is most of a decade. Persson’s in her early fifties and hasn’t sung anything like Sophie in a while, although it was a great role for her at one time.

      Donna Anna, Elettra, Countess Almaviva, and the Countess in Capriccio are typical of what’s on her schedule going back to 2017.

      I haven’t heard her Marschallin, so I don’t make any claims for it either way, but it isn’t uncommon a woman to move from one role to another in that opera with age and vocal change. Several sopranos have sung all three of the main female roles.

  • Janet B-Smythe says:

    Not a crisis.

  • JussiB says:

    my problem with Rosenkav casting is Marschallin and Octavian are both too old. M should be in her late 20’s and O in her teens.

  • BruceB says:

    “Crisis averted,” you mean.

    And anyway, Sophie is not exactly a role that’s hard to cast. (Not that it’s an easy role, it’s just that lots of lyric sopranos know it. Not like trying to find a replacement for Lulu, for example.)

  • Katherine says:

    A “crisis”? Give me strength! This is 2021…

  • JH says:

    So not really a crisis then.

  • Sarah-Jane says:

    I’m not sure that I’m seeing a crisis here? For goodness sake, this is normal life – and we need normal at a time like this.

  • John Borstlap says:

    The not entirely unforseen result of Octavian’s impetuosity.

    • BruceB says:

      Cute 🙂

      It made me wonder, though: are there many soprano/ mezzo pairs who have played the Marschallin + Octavian and the Countess + Cherubino together? There must be.