Friday, February 19, 2010

La Sonnambula cancelled after intermission...

A coup de théâtre at Opera Bastille tonight. The infamous intendant of the Paris Opera "forgot" to make sure a cover singer for Amina was ready to replace Natalie Dessay in case she was unable to finish the show. It was relatively easy to predict that possibility as Natalie was already suffering from pharyngitis and was even unsure to sing on the night of the premiere...

And so tonight La Dessay turned completely voiceless during the intermission and --since there was no singer to replace her-- the management had to cancel the rest of the show tonight.
The crowd apparently shocked became also pi**ed when they learned that they wouldn't be even partly refunded...

 A pic from La Sonnambula in Paris

Dessay was to finish this Sonnambula (tonight + two more shows), and then fly to New York where she's supposed to sing Ophélie in Hamlet next month.

We always feel sorry for the singers running in this kind of troubles and wish Natalie a quick recovery. As for Mr.Nicolas Joel, the ONP intendant...

Update 1: Dessay cancels her last two shows in Paris. She will be replaced by Íride Martínez.

Update 2: No refund but for those who had tickets for the night of the truncated Sonnambula, ONP offers 50% discount on the tickets for one of the two concerts scheduled at the Paris Opera this spring. Those who had the most expensive tics will have an extra choice --> 30% off for a seat in the same price-category for either Billy Budd or The Cunning Little Vixen.


  1. Last time I saw Dessay, at Manon's Liceu, happened the same, she couldn't finish the performance. In that occasion Inva Mula stepped in and the show went on...

    Ummm, so it seems ONP has no covers for singers...

  2. Diletta Rizzo Marin was understudy but only for the premiere. She actually sang at the dressing rehearsal, but then Natalie decided she could sing la prima. Last night Diletta obviously wasn't around any more.

    It's unbelievable for a big opera stage to cancel the show in the middle of it, but here it happened :(

  3. well the question of covers is a tough one... they are really expensive to have and things like this happen. In last July Jonas was really ill during the last Lohengrin, but he somehow managed to stay upright, in spite of high fever during the first 2 acts because they also had no cover and had to fly somebody in... who managed to make it there by te last act, but things weren't easy :-S
    I don't think there is money around to have covers for everyone, but singers get instantly sick in very very few cases, ie on the day they will know how they feel and an opera house needs to be organised to a level where in the day they can pull somebody in. That is why lists of covers are run and so on... They didn't do a great job at ONP with this one.

  4. Hi there :)

    To me it's unforgivable to cancel the show after its first half.

    It was predictable that Natalie wouldn't finish the run. She was complaining all the time in the press and she was visibly ill.

    Now whether they could afford a top singer as a cover can be discussed but that they were unable to find anyone in the chorus able to sing 2 arias from La Sonnambula (sic!) and finish the show, that's beyond me.

    Shame on the artistic management!