Met Opera Opening Night: Poplavskaya Out, Majeski In

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - 02:10 PM

Even as doubts swirl around the Metropolitan Opera's fall schedule, rehearsals continue and casting changes are being made.

The Met announced on Wednesday that the once highly-touted Russian soprano Marina Poplavskaya has pulled out of the opening-night production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, citing unspecified health reasons. The American soprano Amanda Majeski will replace her as Countess Almaviva.

Majeski was originally scheduled to sing the role in later performances of the run, but will now make her Met debut on opening night. She has previously sung the Countess with several other companies including the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Dresden Opera and the Glyndebourne Festival. 

The Marriage of Figaro is due to open the season on September 22. The company said this week that a contract with its unionized workers must be signed by Sunday night or they will face a lockout.

WQXR's Conducting Business will feature a panel discussion on the Met's labor dispute, due Thursday on


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Comments [10]

David Bolt from Westchester

Jesse from Tampa reaffirms what I have always felt . An evening in the Met is one thing . Every other expense around it is another thing . People who come from out of town ( as well as locals , like me ) spend thousands of Dollars on NYC hotels ,taxis , restaurants , shopping , etc . The $ 200 spent on the Met ticket is but a very small portion of the overall cost of an evening at the Met .Immense benefits accrue to NYC through airlines , hotels , restaurants , parking facilities , etc from the presence of the Met in NY. Surely it is time that all those other beneficiaries , through the City itself or by some other means , contribute their fair share to the Met budget . I suspect all the restaurants around Lincoln Center would suffer greatly if the Met was not there . Just ask them how their revenues are hit on the nights the Koch Theater is closed , and when there are no performances in the Center . The Met is a community effort - let all contribute to it .

Aug. 19 2014 02:00 AM
Emily Byrne Curtis from Hoboken, New Jersey

The has been an utter lack of information from the Met Opera as to what steps it is taking to help cut expenses, all we hear is that if the unions will only take massive cuts, then all will be well.
For what? More overblown productions, that have nothing to do with the
opera? Sometimes I just sit back so I can not see the stage, and listen to the singers and the orchestra.
Let's hope that somehow, everything works out.

Aug. 16 2014 05:52 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

Poplavskaya canceled. No wonder, the MET OPERA is like a sinking ship. Get off while other options are still possible. There will be other major desertions before the MET's scheduled deadline for the unions' capitulations. The unions it appears will not be intimidated. Management had better learn the virtue of conciliation and understanding the human concerns even beyond the artistic values.
Whatever the outcome of the MET OPERA negotiations, one thing is sure. EVENTUALLY, the cream comes to the top. Future generations realizing the loss generated by multiple causes,will band together to excavate the archeological treasures entombed in original manuscripts, vaults, piano/ vocal scores,partiturs,CDs, tapes, cassettes, DVDs, films and videocassettes.
Fads and a diversity of options besides the cultural backgrounds and financial depravations that concern many people who, by those factors, currently dismiss the masterpieces as purely elitist concerns. Time will tell and when time runs out to salvage the treasures of the past, we all will suffer. But new geniuses and causes will evolve to give significance and hedonistic pleasure. ALL the comments that I have here read are valid and historic vantage points suggest that the executive will decry the artists as ingrates even though they are the only talents evident. Moneyed interests have little regard for what is moral or artistic. States that do not have opera houses or symphony halls are unlikely to voluntarily support them elsewhere. Potential outstanding instrumentalists, singers, authors and composers will not sacrifice a normal family life wherein a guaranteed income is essential if one is a responsible parent to the whims or trends or fads of a society errant in its respect and love for the masterpieces of geniuses. We must all be activists in challenging the dogma that nothing matters but money.

Aug. 16 2014 08:30 AM
Bob Sorrentino from Mount Laurel, NJ

True. Whichever way this goes, if the Met board has any sense, they will give him his walking papers as soon as a suitable replacement can be found.

If Volpe was still in charge, none of this would have ever happened.

Three days and counting...

Aug. 15 2014 07:43 AM
Gregg Simmons from New York, NY

As other people are voicing and writing I cannot wonder whether or not this and, presumably, other "illnesses" and scheduling conflicts are a direct results of Herr Gelb's heavy handed tactics and threats. He just has to look at how badly the Met rebounded after the previous labor problems and his current box office "issues" to understand he's really off on a limb that is dead and half sawn through and in danger of killing the goose that lays the golden egg.

Aug. 15 2014 12:23 AM

That horror of a production of Traviata and the other of Rigoletto will bring the audience to their feet all right...walking OUT!!!! The unions should not have to give up ANYTHING!!! The Met could save money by using their old beautiful scenery and restore Eugene Onegin, too. along with all the other lovely sets now not in use.Young people have good taste, too, Mr. Gelb!!!!

Aug. 14 2014 05:11 PM
Bob Sorrentino from Mount Laurel, NJ

Let's hope, first, that this isn't a repeat of 1980, when the big names got tired of waiting in a lockout that saw almost half the season scrapped, and the second-stringers dominating what there was of the season, and the broadcasts.

Second, I also got a phone call the other day, asking if I wanted to upgrade my guild membership. I didn't, but we got into a very interesting conversation on the prospects for the coming season. I asked if there was any news, and she responded that things had taken an upturn, but beyond that, she couldn't comment. With three days to go, let's keep our fingers (and toes) crossed.

Aug. 14 2014 05:09 PM
concetta nardone from Nassau

QXR. Why did you post that foto of the trashy production of Traviata. Are you reminding us some of the reason there is less attendance at the Met.

Aug. 14 2014 10:22 AM
Jesse Hankla from Tampa Bay area

Last night I had the unpleasant experience, of a fundraiser from the MET, trying to coerce me to increase my contribution level for this year, while making no mention of the current labor issues. In June, as a result of a very nice visit, with another, very polite MET fundraiser, I accelerated my contribution for this year by six months, payment in full. Last evening, it was obvious the fundraiser did not want to even make me privy to the information I had already read, on this website. I informed him I am ready to purchase good-quality, aka expensive seats, for the nights of October 21-23, if there is a season, or if I know when the season will begin! I also made it clear I deeply resent Mr. Gelb's union-destroying tactics. In my opinion, as a musician, with many years of teaching experience, a number of years in music administration, and a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree, from a fine school of music, in piano performance and pedagogy, Mr. Gelb needs to go. These tactics of assuming, over 1000 miles away, I am not privy to the present situation are insulting, and at the very least are very unethical.

Thank you so much WQXR for your continuing coverage. To the many other fans of the MET, I emphasize, as I did to the MET fundraiser last evening, I just want to get this labor issue settled and put this greatest operatic institution in the world, back in business for another season. With a spring trip and two guests then, and with a guest in October, I will have spent this year, in excess of $2,000 on MET seats alone. (Suffice it to say, everyone who goes to NYC, knows how expensive hotel, food, and transportation are, for four nights on each trip.) I think there is something to be said for just simply filling empty seats, with people who are enthusiastic fans of this old, but still great art form.

Aug. 13 2014 04:52 PM
Sanford Rothenberg from Brooklyn

This is but one cast change,and with the labor uncertainty at the MET,it can be safely presumed that this is neither the first nor last that will have occurred.Artists jumping ship will be one more by-product of this debacle of Labor Relations.

Aug. 13 2014 03:23 PM

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