Summer opera faces Rosenkavalier baby crisis

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.


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  • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • “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.)

  • 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.

    • 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.

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