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Lend me a tenor: The ‘Aida’ crisis continues
By Mark Kanny
TRIBUNE-REVIEW CLASSICAL MUSIC CRITIC
Friday, April 4, 2008
The saga continues for Pittsburgh Opera’s seemingly cursed production of “Aida.”
Tonight’s performance will present Stephen O’Mara in place of tenor Vladimir Kuzmenko, with Jane Dutton standing in for mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, who has missed two performances and a Wednesday master class because of illness. Both substitutes are on call for the final performance Sunday.
Tuesday night, a novel and radical solution enabled the show to go on for the beleaguered “Aida.”
The company already had faced the all-too-common need to replace a starring performer, in this case Blythe, before performances began March 29. But Tuesday night, tenor Vladimir Kuzmenko’s voice gave out after the third of four acts. Earlier in the day, anticipating his health issues, a substitute tenor was being flown in from the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. But his flight was delayed, and he arrived too late.
Only conductor Antony Walker’s ability to sing the tenor part, amplified while conducting in the pit, enabled the audience to experience the opera’s dramatic climax. Kuzmenko lip-synched his role onstage.
While “Aida’s” perfect storm of bad luck might be a bit extreme, star cancellations are not all that unusual within the performing world. How those problems are handled can vary. In the best of all worlds, the show will go on.
More about the evening at: