La Scala finds cover to shoulder Netrebko’s opener

La Scala finds cover to shoulder Netrebko’s opener


norman lebrecht

October 27, 2021

We hear that the Juilliard-trained Polish soprano Ewa Plonka is on her way to Milan to cover for Anna Netrebko in La Scala’s season-opener of Macbeth on December 7.

Netrebko is undergoing shoulder surgery this week and expects to be fit for La Scala. Plonka has been named to sing the last show in her run and is on standby in Milan for rehearsals and performance from October 26 until December 31.

Plonka is unusual. She started out as a concert pianist, then switched to singing mezzo-soprano. She has only recently upped her Fach.

La Scala aside, she has debuts lined up at Covent Garden, Munich, Palermo, La Monnaie, Toulouse, Prague and Polish National Opera.

She has been singing in Dallas this week.


  • Chicagorat says:

    Wasting no time, Muti has already started to troll this Dec. 7 opener with a press conference at Fondazione Prada, the sponsor of the Muti-Apprentice show this year.

    Asked about the Muti-Nabucco, planned to take place in the exact same week of the Chailly-Macbeth opener, a visibly irked Italian Stallion complained about the question and deemed it “parochial”. He then threw red meat to his fans: “I have never used my gestures to show how good I am. I am from the Italian school, which historically was always concerned with quality … Gestures are a means to an end. Today, conductors move too much, HAIR flying, open mouths”. (Capitalization ours)

    His beautiful and intelligent statements are captured here:

    In the meantime, Muti’s plot is finally becoming clear to careful observers. He just wanted to be in town to cover, should some unfortunate accident happen to Chailly (God forbid).

  • A.L. says:

    I would quickly assign all performances to the cover. Much better Plonka than having to hear a vocally ravaged Netrebko Plonk her way through the role.

    • LikesHealthierSingingRatherThanStarPower says:

      “Plonk,” you say? Lol she (Plonka) sounds fantastic on this Turandot clip! Much healthier sound imho.

  • SlippedChat says:

    Agree that Plonka, whom I’d never heard (or even heard of) until now, does indeed sound fantastic in the Turandot excerpt.

    I’ve heard too many Turandots who, up until the moment of that life-changing last-act kiss, come across as vengeful automatons with voices that range from wobbly to so penetratingly laser-like that they could shatter glass.

    If this excerpt is typical, Ponka’s voice is womanly in the best sense of that word, with high notes that are brilliant and clear but not grating, and also characterized by a really attractive vibrato which is just enough to add warmth without risking pitch.

    I’ll look forward to hearing more of this singer.

    • Nijinsky says:

      Just absolutely amazing. Netrebko should have never sang Turandot, you can hear the fatigue in her voice from singing a role too heavy for her. Plonka does have a voice that can handle it. I don’t know how heavy Macbeth is, but I question whether that also is really too heavy for A N, although Plonka’s would, it seem, be more suited. Anna Netrebko should have stayed to the lyrical soprano roles that are suited to her voice, which she did absolutely beautifully, these heavier roles to me are a result of image, ego, ambition and marketing

      You can hear what a deliciously full and sweet voice she has here, as well:

      And then you have this, from A N read the comments, for example.

      Sorry, but….

    • Nijinsky says:

      Plonka does it beautifully.
      Someone should tell A N that Turandot isn’t suited to her voice and the expressional markings for Turandot aren’t: “howl-flat-sharp-wobble-howl-scoop-scream-flat-sharp-howl-wobble-howl-scoop…”

  • Barbara says:

    Born in Prodnik, Poland? Studied Academy of Music in Poznan-graduated from Music Schools in Poland. Artist Diploma in Opera Theatre from Juilliard

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    The excellent American contralto Lorraine Hunt Lieberson had been a professional violist before gifting the world with her vocal talents.