Exclusive: Deep trouble at the Met’s Tosca

Exclusive: Deep trouble at the Met’s Tosca


norman lebrecht

November 30, 2021

We hear that that Scarpia was a no-show at yesterday’s rehearsal for Thursday’s opening of Tosca.

Evgeny Nikitin was cast in the role, but he missed rehearsal and was replaced by George Gagnidze, who is now expected to take over the first night.

The Met is saying nothing.

Insiders tell us that Nikitin, who has a colourful past, was sacked and is on a plane back home to Russia.

We’ll keep you posted.

Flashback: Nikitin’s Bayreuth incident


  • bet says:

    I heard Nikitin lost a posedown to Yannick and had to leave town in disgrace.

    • Maria says:

      What’s does ‘a lost posedown’ mean to us Brits?

    • Sam's Hot Car Lot says:

      It’s likely the last time we’ll ever see Nikitin at the Met.

      Unlike Nikitin, Gagnidze is reliable and he’s a better singer than Nikitin anyway.

      • Tom Phillips says:

        They are both overemployed there as are many other East European mediocrities in Italian roles.

        • Save the MET says:

          They work cheap in comparison to Western singers. Ioan Holender when he ran the Vienna Staatsoper would hire as many Eastern European and Russian singers to fill anything other than the star roles to keep the costs down. Of course there is always the breakthrough star. the only reason we know the name Nikitin is because of his swastika tattoo.

          • Tom Phillips says:

            He was a pretty good Klingsor at least back in 2013, not particularly impressed by him in anything else.

    • BRUCEB says:

      It’s where the bodybuilders in a contest all stand onstage together posing, to see who can look the most muscular.


      Very apt and (IMHO) hilarious for this situation.

      • Terence says:

        From you link: spot the one not using anabolic steroids ….

        No, I couldn’t either.

        I think singing is healthier.

  • Karl says:

    Maybe he got a Trump tattoo?

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Perhaps the audience will need packets of “No-Doze”, direct from the Presidential oval office.

    • HugoPreuss says:

      He’s got a Swastika tattoo. That does not reflect on his vocal capabilities, but certainly on his mental and emotional capabilities.

    • adam says:

      Your Trump fetish is admirable considering he will run again in 2024.

      Commenters can’t extoll Biden and Harris for anything yet Trump remains their savior.

  • Günther Kraus says:

    With half of Europe‘s opera houses shut down, it should not be hard to locate an all star replacement….

  • Jack Burrows says:

    Quinn Kelsey is currently in rehearsal at the Met for rigoletto. An obvious replacement.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    It’s all so yesterday, though, isn’t it.

  • Hazel Krause says:

    Michael Chioldi is the cover, well rehearsed and ready. Why not use him?

    • Emilee says:

      The MET will almost always use someone with a name to replace singers. Chioldi would be fantastic, in fact he IS fantastic, but he doesn’t have the reputation like Gaganidze.

      • Tiredofitall says:

        Which is exactly why the Met (these days) will never “discover” new talent, as say, Frankfurt Opera.

        For all the money the Met spends on “scouts”, it remains parochial in its taste and daring. Oftentimes, by the time these artists reach the New York, their best days are behind them.

  • BigSir says:

    If he cleaned himself up a little, he might pass for the drummer of Motley Crue.

  • AHJ says:

    they made the change already, Gagdnize will be Scarpia

  • Kathleen E King says:

    Too bad it wasn’t Yannick and Gelb leaving permanently….

  • Paul says:

    Too much Nikitin is bad for your health.

  • GaryS says:

    Thank God the Met stands up to no shows. Good riddens. Besides why would we want to patronize anyone who has a Swatstika tattoo.

    • Yes Addison says:

      He also hasn’t sounded good in years. Another in a line long of vocal casualties of the Mariinsky meat grinder.