Thursday, July 13, 2006

The show must go on

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.


  1. Way ahead of you on this one. Back when LHL cancelled her performances for the rest of this season, I had coincidentally just been looking at the Met roster and performance schedule for 06-07 and noticed a tiny but interesting connection amongst the various cast members.

    Lorraine was listed for the Orfeo, and a certain colleague of hers, who, as you all will recall, had taken over the role of Kitty Oppenheimer for the premiere of Doctor Atomic, was/is on the books as Idamante in the 07 Idomeneo.

    So I propose/guess Kristine Jepson.

  2. Per La Cieca:

    Per the Met's website, David Daniels will sing the four performances of the new Orfeo ed Euridice production in May 2007

  3. Henry, La Cieca, Maury, AUV, anyone:

    Somebody pleae tell me who in the hell makes these kinds of decisions anyway???


Absolutely no axe-grinding, please.