A week after Lorraine Hunt Lieberson's shocking-if-unsurprising passing, online talk has already bubbled up about her possible replacement in next season's Met/Mark Morris Orfeo. With Hunt, it was the most anticipated event of the coming season. Now -- as it's probably impractical and definitely unwise to cancel the production -- things are up in the air. There's no official word (or strong rumor) on a substitute, just speculation.
From a purely vocal standpoint, I wonder if the house could do better than one of its own youngsters. I'd never thought I'd hear a sound like Kathleen Ferrier's, but Tamara Mumford's lower register has some of that great Orfeo's uncanny contralto timbre. Even more remarkable, I think -- and again recalling Ferrier -- is the pure, unforced seriousness of the young mezzo's natural manner. It's too bad opera has few leading parts for such a combination.
But I suspect it's unlikely that the Met would entrust a new, high-profile production to a twentysomething-year-old third-year Lindemann singer, no matter how talented. So if it's to be a "name" star, I'd like to see Vesselina Kasarova -- an excellent singer who hasn't yet been shown in her element in New York.
Naturally, I'm sure Peter Gelb et al. have their own ideas.
UPDATE (7/19): Via a helpful commenter, the replacement seems to be David Daniels. Those who've read the archives may recall that I consider the countertenor-in-old-repertoire phenomenon essentially fraudulent, and Daniels -- whose voice sits far too high for these parts -- doubly so. I've no doubt this choice will sell tickets, but what an artistic waste.