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Thread: When Singers Cancel

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    Senior Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Default When Singers Cancel

    I just came across news on the web that Jonas Kaufmann has cancelled at least one or two of his appearances as Cavaradossi at La Scala -- some sort of viral infection, apparently. I hate to say this, because Herr K. is not only my favorite tenor but seems to be one of the nicest people around -- but he is turning into the Cancellation King.

    Certainly, no one should expect a singer who is ill or injured to perform. Unfortunately, illness and/or injury seem to afflict Herr Kaufmann with alarming frequency. I wonder if he simply isn't taking on too much of a workload, and needs to reduce the number of performances he commits to. Yes, that would mean fewer opportunities for us to hear him sing. But when his health forces him to cancel, the result is the same.

    I speak (write?) from the perspective of someone who has often traveled to hear favorite singers perform. I have been extremely fortunate that, in all the past three decades, I've never been faced with a cancellation by the singer I've gone to hear. However, I can well imagine how disheartening it must be for someone who has spent a good bit of money for a ticket (which, at the major international houses, doesn't come cheap), airfare, and a hotel room (likewise, not exactly cheap), and has looked forward to hearing his/her favorite singer for months, only to be greated by a note in the program or an announcement from the stage that Miss/Mr. X won't be appearing that evening.

    I will probably try to go to New York this Fall to hear the Jonas sing Faust, or to take in his recital at the Met. But in the back of my mind, I keep wondering about how much of a risk I'm taking that he'll be a no-show. (It wasn't long after I attended his Met debut that he ended up cancelling a recital at the Kennedy Center in Washington.)

    Again, I know there are occasions when a cancellation simply cannot be avoided. And from everything I've read on the web, as well as my own experience, Jonas Kaufmann is a thoroughly lovely individual who genuinely cares about his fans. But I do wish he could find a way to take better care of his health, even if it means that he comes to the U.S. less often. (It has also occurred to me that his accessibility to his fans could be part of the problem. I would hope that anyone who has a cold and still chooses to attend a performance would have the decency and common sense not to try to meet singers afterward, and risk passing the infection on to them.)

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    Senior Member MAuer's Avatar
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    greated

    Uh, make that "greeted."

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    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    Jonas Kaufmann is a thoroughly lovely individual who genuinely cares about his fans.
    I think that this is the important part. If he was truly ill when he cancelled, then I have no beef with it. Have you tried to sing when you're hoarse? But if it's like Draculette who was rumored to have cancelled because she wanted to go shopping and to spend time with her husband in another city, then it's outrageous.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    If the alternative is to croak his way through the opera and get slammed in the media afterward, then a cancellation is better. When I saw Carmen in Oslo a few years ago (at the old opera house!), "Don José" had strep throat. It was painful to hear him battle his way through it. However this was not a very famous singer and I doubt it made any damage to his career.

    By the way, I think Jonas Kaufmann has explained his take on cancellations in general in numerous interviews. He clearly states he would rather cancel than have to worry about opening his mouth and have nothing come out.
    ****Karen Patricia****
    http://www.karen-patricia.com

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    I don't think I'd go to an opera I didn't like just to see a particular singer, like you say it's such a risk. But I was disappointed with what happened with Boccanegra last July.

    It was announced that Ferruccio Furlanetto (Fiesco) was unable to sing owing to illness but he would act the role and John Tomlinson would sing the role from the side of the stage. We couldn't understand why his understudy just didn't step up but think it might have been because the performance was being filmed for DVD. To be honest it didn't really work for me & John Tomlinson sounded rusty.

    I did go to Munich especially to see Joseph Calleja in L'elisir (& meet up with his Fan Club) but I do love this opera & it wouldn't have been a wasted trip if he'd cancelled. I saw two performances & he was totally spectacular in the first & not so spectacular in the second but there was only one day between. You get a lot of 'tenor for your buck' in L'elisir so surely there should have been at least two days in between. Also Nino Machaidze had a virus on the second night but did sing. Poor girl was very croaky though when we spoke to her at the Stage Door later.
    Annie

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    rgz
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    This thread exactly mirrors my thoughts. I'm so worried that Natalie Dessay will cancel, can't tell you how crushing that would be.
    -Ian

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    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rgz View Post
    This thread exactly mirrors my thoughts. I'm so worried that Natalie Dessay will cancel, can't tell you how crushing that would be.
    Someone in the Opera News magazine doesn't like her. In the current issue when they talk about the upcoming Lucia, they included a most unflattering picture of hers.

    Nah, don't worry. Natalie is a fierce little thing. She's not known for cancellations.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Senior Member MAuer's Avatar
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    I think part of my concern with Herr K.'s cancellations is the sheer frequency of them. He seems to catch every flu bug and cold that comes down the pike (there was a bout of H1N1 flu a year ago), and that makes me wonder if his workload, and the travel connected with it, isn't taking a toll on his health. I would hate, hate, HATE to see what happened to Rolando Villazon happen to Jonas Kaufmann.

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    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    I think part of my concern with Herr K.'s cancellations is the sheer frequency of them. He seems to catch every flu bug and cold that comes down the pike (there was a bout of H1N1 flu a year ago), and that makes me wonder if his workload, and the travel connected with it, isn't taking a toll on his health. I would hate, hate, HATE to see what happened to Rolando Villazon happen to Jonas Kaufmann.
    Maybe poor Kaufmann has a weak immune system, and since he travels so much, catches different strains of these bugs. It is true that one's immune system gets weakened by stress and lack of sleep/rest.

    You're right about these big young stars getting overwhelmed with fame and biting more than they can chew. Rolando is a very unfortunate case but his vocal problems apparently also have to do with overuse of the voice in terms of repertoire choices. I don't know if this is a problem for Kaufmann as well, I don't follow his career as closely, but according to what you've been saying, for Kaufmann it is more of an issue with getting upper respiratory infections and not one of damaging the vocal chords like seems to have been the case for Villazón.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    speakng of, anna netrebko had to bow out of don pasquale today because she is ill

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_emptier View Post
    speakng of, anna netrebko had to bow out of don pasquale today because she is ill
    Yeah, I was looking forward to hearing her on Radio 3.
    Annie

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    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_emptier View Post
    speakng of, anna netrebko had to bow out of don pasquale today because she is ill
    Wow! I'm glad that it didn't happen when I travelled to New York City to see here last October!.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Jessica Pratt cancelled her appearance as Königin der Nacht the other night at the Royal Opera House due to being "indisposed". Luckily it didn't bother me that much as she had gotten some lacklustre reviews singing that role on other dates of the run. The ROH flew in someone from from Germany the morning of the performance to sing the role in Pratt's place as there was no understudy.

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    Senior Member MAuer's Avatar
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    News has just come out that el Guapo has cancelled his participation in the Met's Japan tour next month:

    http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/20...of-japan-tour/

    I can't say I'm surprised by this development in view of his schedule this year. He is just wrapping up a two-month stay in the U.S.; he's due in Berlin Wednesday for "Das Lied von der Erde" and will then travel up to Iceland for a concert next Saturday.
    Had he traveled to Japan with the Met, he probably would have been home for only about two weeks before heading out on a huge overseas journey.
    He's home in Munich for about the first half of July, and then it's off to London for "Tosca" at the ROH. After a couple of days in the UK, he's back home in Germany for the remainder of the month. In August, he has a concert in Denmark followed by two of the "Summit of the Stars" events with La Bellissima and her Better Half (Seńor Schrott, not Alma ).
    During September, he's supposed to be in Japan for "Carmen" and "Lohengrin" as part of guest tours of Bologna's Teatro Communale and BSO (not quite sure which musical organization those initials represent.
    From mid-October, he's touring Europe for a few weeks (Essen, Berlin, Munich, Athens, and London) before crossing the Atlantic again for his concert at the Met 30 October, followed by a month and a half-long stay in the U.S. again before heading back home to Germany in late December.
    With a schedule like that, it's no wonder this poor guy seems to get sick at the drop of a hat. Perhaps this is a consequence of having to plan his calendar five years out, or an attempt on his part to give as many people a "piece of the cake" (expression he likes to use in his bio) as possible. Trouble is that cake will start to crumble (to continue with his analogy) if it is sliced too thinly.
    As much as I love having him here in the States, I really wish he'd slow down a little and not try to cram so many overseas trips in his schedule. It could also mean he wouldn't find it necessary to cancel so often.
    Last edited by Almaviva; May-15-2011 at 17:41. Reason: typo

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    Super Moderator mamascarlatti's Avatar
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    Wow that is one heavy schedule. Better not to take on so much and learn to say no. As you say, it's much much better than cancelling.
    Natalie

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