July 28, 2021

Cancellations and notices

That things change is a fact. Also in the music. And often not for the better. An example of this is in the phenomena of “cancellations” and “notices of indisposition.” We are getting more and more accustomed to the fact that, just before a show, a voice is heard or someone appears on the stage to inform us that such a guy does not have a “I don’t know what” but that, despite everything, he will act. Very recently, it has happened with a well-known tenor to which I will refer later. Orchestra conductors such as Karajan or Abbado had been refusing very often that those who worked with them took refuge in these types of notices. Famous was the case of the unforgettable “Journey to Reims” of Abbado in Pesaro. One of the sopranos, Katia Ricciarelli, wanted to use it and Abbado refused. When it was his exit to the stage he did not appear and his companions, without knowing what to do, began to improvise until Cecilia Gasdía, who intervened later, began to sing Ricciarelli’s phrases behind the scenes and, quickly, dressed another soprano to replace the “missing.” Ricciarelli, neither short nor lazy, had left the theater pissed off by the “incomprehension” of the teacher. Logically, when Abbado took the opera to Vienna, he changed it to Caballe. There are artists whose cancellations were and are famous. Some with reason. Anja Harteros has her husband very sick and cancels when a crisis comes. Jonas Kaufmann suffers intermittent problems from the condition he suffered. Twice he canceled in Real. It is detrimental to those who have scheduled and paid for a trip to listen to them and this should be valued. But there is no harm that for good does not come and the cancellations of celebrities give the opportunity for others, in their beginnings, to be released to fame. They are the cases of Corelli and Domingo in the Met with «Adriana Lecouvreur», of Corelli and Carreras in Munich with «Tosca» or Horne and Caballe in the Carnegie with «Lucrecia Borgia». Teresa Berganza, who came to be called “madama cancelation”, did not sing if she was not in perfect condition. There are artists who never cancel or notify. Alfredo Kraus was one of them. He canceled due to illness only once in his career. A mezzo friend told me that, after a painful recital of Ricciarelli in New York in which he warned of indisposition, he went to see her in the dressing room to recommend rest and she replied: «Yes, now, but the check is in my pocket» . In those days it was considered that if an artist had to “notify” twice in a row he should cancel his next commitments and rest. Now no longer and the recent case of Javier Camarena is an example. On his three-week tour he warned at least in Barcelona, ​​Valencia and Madrid, where he ended up singing Mexican instead of arias. It was a little responsible attitude with the public and something had to do with the fact of “going to the box office.” About the Ricciarelli check. We live in times of “everything’s worth,” but it shouldn’t be that way.


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