Netrebko cancels Norma role debut

UPDATE: To the surprise of many, Sonya Yoncheva will replace Netrebko in London yet again.
At the Metropolitan Opera, Sondra Radvanovsky will sing the role. 

Shortly after the Royal Opera House proudly presented its 2016-2017 season, Anna Netrebko has cancelled her September London role debut as Norma, issuing the following statement via the Royal Opera House:

“As I have begun to prepare the role, I have come to the unfortunate conclusion my voice has evolved in a different direction. This is something I could not have anticipated when Maestro Pappano and I planned this project four years ago, as we singers have to make decisions about roles and projects several years in advance. It pains me greatly to disappoint him, the Royal Opera House, and audiences in the UK. Knowing that tickets will soon go on sale and not wanting to mislead anyone, I feel I must now be honest with myself as an artist and make this very difficult decision.”

Netrebko cancels Norma
Anna Netrebko © Dario Acosta

Second infelicitous Netrebko cancellation

Two years ago, the Royal Opera House faced a similar setback, when Netrebko cancelled her much-anticipated role debut as Marguerite in Gounod’s Faust at the last minute, some time after ticket sales had started. She was replaced by Sonya Yoncheva, who impressed London audiences.

At the moment, it is unclear which soprano will replace Netrebko as Norma. There is significant public pressure on the Royal Opera to contract a worthy and impressive replacement in the demanding role. In a statement on this second high-profile cancellation, Kasper Holten, Director of Opera, openly expressed the Royal Opera’s frustration with the situation:

“We are, of course, very frustrated that Anna has felt it necessary to cancel a major role debut with us for the second time. We have done everything we can to avoid this situation. Whilst we regret that her withdrawal has come at such a late stage, we do respect her decision and understand how difficult this is for her as well. We are sorry for the disappointment this may cause some of our audience.”

Also read Operatics’ preview of the 2016-2017 season at the Royal Opera House.

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