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Cast change: Andrea Carè to sing in Carmen on 14 and 16 November 2015

Italian tenor to replace Jonas Kaufmann due to illness.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

11 November 2015 at 3.02pm | 127 Comments

Due to a viral infection, German tenor Jonas Kaufmann has had to withdraw from singing the role of Don José in Carmen on 14 and 16 November 2015. The role will now be sung by Italian tenor Andrea Carè.

Andrea Carè made his Royal Opera debut in 2013 as Ismaele in Nabucco. His recent performances include B.F. Pinkerton in Madam Butterfly for Savonlinna Opera Festival and Canadian Opera Company, Pollione in Norma for Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona and Opéra National de Bordeaux; Giasone in Medea for Grand Théâtre de Genève, Cavaradossi in Tosca in St. Margarethen and Don José in Carmen for the Royal Swedish Opera.

The rest of the cast remains unchanged.

If you have a ticket please see terms and conditions of sale.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

11 November 2015 at 3.02pm

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged by Francesca Zambello, Carmen, cast change, Production

This article has 127 comments

  1. helene adam responded on 11 November 2015 at 3:16pm Reply

    So sad... I bought this ticket for Jonas Kaufmann performance... I came from France for this event...

    • Eva responded on 17 November 2015 at 12:12am

      Guys, I had a ticket for Nessun dorma on October 21 in Brussels and travelled there from far Russia. I took my rose bouquet and learnt there 's no recital half an hour prior to the beginning.Stupid((( So you are not alone. Happily I 'd heard his Paris Ariadne 10 days ago and that's a small consolation. But I've got my money back in Brussels.
      Well, he is the best and I'll make my pilgrimage again before long. Lieber Jonas, gute Besserung!!!

  2. Don't even like Carmen responded on 11 November 2015 at 3:21pm Reply

    I assume clause 1.2 means that an absent Jonas Kaufmann is not reason enough to get a refund?
    Difficult to think of a more substantial alteration. Nothing against his replacement, but there was only one reason to come to this.

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 11 November 2015 at 4:24pm

      That is correct.

      We're sure you'll enjoy Andrea Carè's performance (as well as that of the ROH Orchestra, Royal Opera Chorus and the rest of the cast) though do of course appreciate your disappointmant.

      We do offer a returns service, although we can't guarantee the sale of your ticket. More details about this can be found at


      ROH Content Producer

    • Michael Varcoe-Cocks responded on 15 November 2015 at 7:50pm

      The ROH's attitude to refunds and exchanges is deeply selfish, disrespectful to its patrons and unsatisfactory. Like many - probably around 4,000 - I had a ticket for one of JK's two performances and would not have booked for another singer as I have seen many Carmen productions including this one numerous times. This is no disrespect to his replacement nor any of the rest of the cast as has been ridiculously suggested.
      A friend had booked my ticket for me and would have given it to me tomorrow. He kindly forwarded Mr Holten's desperately predictable email on Wednesday and I arrived back in London from Hong Kong on Friday. There was no practical way, given the ROH's T&Cs relating to exchanges and refunds, that I could have got my ticket to the house in time, nor would I have wanted to exchange for another performances as I already have many opera and ballet tickets for shows in the next few months! As a side issue, I wonder if the T&Cs would pass the legal tests of fairness and reasonableness.
      If this Carmen was a sell-out for all the shows, it was odd to see that more than 250 seats were available for tomorrow and there are still 120+ 24 hours before the show. Not a great rush to see Carmen then after those, who were able to, got to return their JK tickets for an exchange or the hope of a resale.
      There is a very simple solution which the ROH seems desperate to avoid, namely a credit system that a number of other theatres provide. The ROH could provide a credit note valid for 12 months, subject to a fee, and should be able to do this online or by telephone by, say, midday on the day of the performance. This would avoid the fear of lost revenue which full or partial refunds would involve. It would also respect the FACT that opera- and ballet-goers often choose performances on the basis of casting.
      As for the statement that prices were the same across the whole Carmen run, I would have been more impressed if I we were being told that JK was being paid the same as the other interpreters of his role! Prices for performances with "star" singers were often greater than other performances in a run and the implication that having the same ticket prices now for the stars as ANOs is the result of averaging down rather than up is just laughable. I hope tomorrow Mr Holten comes out before the show and apologises, not for the indisposition of JK as all performers fall ill, but for his management's stubbornness in dealing fairly with returns or exchanges in such cases.

  3. Louise responded on 11 November 2015 at 3:27pm Reply

    Oh, how frustrating I had been really looking forward to seeing Jonas : (

  4. Richard Northcott responded on 11 November 2015 at 4:36pm Reply

    Lack of Kaufmann leaving me feeling a bit cheated as it was the ONLY reason I bought a ticket. Feel the ROH should offer refunds where such a good singer is singing for only 2 nights.

  5. Roger Mullis responded on 11 November 2015 at 5:06pm Reply

    Having heard Carè singing Don José for an indisposed Bryan Hymel at the dress, I can confirm that you will not be disappointed. Look beyond the name to the quality of the singer!

    • Andrew Walters responded on 12 November 2015 at 9:56am

      great to hear Roger!

    • priscilla responded on 15 November 2015 at 2:39pm

      do you work at roh? if so slightly self serving


    • Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products) responded on 15 November 2015 at 5:07pm

      Dear Priscilla

      Dress rehearsals are open to Friends of Covent Garden as well as staff members.

      Best wishes


  6. Heather Parry responded on 11 November 2015 at 5:11pm Reply

    I can't believe that you work at the ROH and really believe that the absence of Jonas Kaufmann is NOT a substantial alteration. Or that anyone will want to buy the tickets now.

    • Roger Mullis responded on 11 November 2015 at 5:27pm

      (1) According to the terms and conditions of the contract by which you bought your ticket, the replacement of Jonas Kaufmann by another artist is indeed NOT a substantial alteration entitling you to a refund. I'm not aware of any opera house that offers a refund for a cast change, however 'big-name' the singer replaced. It's a risk you take if you decide to book a ticket for a performance solely because of a particular artist, especially if (like 'Don't even like Carmen' apparently) you don't like the opera.
      (2) To say that no one will want to buy the tickets now is pretty disrespectful to Andrea Carè, whom I assume you haven't even heard, not to mention the rest of the cast, the chorus, children's chorus and orchestra. The fact is that this run of Carmen has sold out across 3 different casts, at the same price level throughout. I only made it to the dress, and my initial disappointment that Byran Hymel was unable to sing on that occasion was soon disspelled when I heard Carè. I'm now trying to rearrange my diary and looking out for decent returns!

  7. nauman responded on 11 November 2015 at 5:21pm Reply

    Feeling cheated.
    Should be offered full refund.
    So it means that there is no difference between Kaufmann and Care.

  8. Heather Parry responded on 11 November 2015 at 5:23pm Reply

    Jonas Kaufmann is in the video on your web page and posters on the tube. Really not a substantial change?

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 11 November 2015 at 5:40pm

      Hi Heather,

      While the situation is extremely unfortunate and we fully appreciate your disappointment, illness is unforeseeable, hence Jonas Kaufmann's inclusion in pre-performance publicity.

      If you'd like to return your ticket, please do contact our Box Office team who'll be happy to advise. Further information about the ticket return service can be found at

      We're sure that Andrea Carè will impress you with his performance.


      ROH Content Producer

  9. nauman responded on 11 November 2015 at 5:25pm Reply

    If I want Care , I would buy the ticket. But its feel like a pressure to see him under weird circumstances.

    If ROH management thinks that there is no difference btw Kaufmann and Care , then please now onward invite Care instead of Kaufmann.
    And ticket sales will tell the difference

  10. Heather Parry responded on 11 November 2015 at 5:29pm Reply

    Refunds were offered when Thomas Allen withdrew from Cosi Fan Tutti: but we were only told when we were already in our seats.

  11. Heather Parry responded on 11 November 2015 at 5:32pm Reply

    I've seen Carmen many times over 40 years and would not have spent £215 per ticket except to see Jonas Kaufmann.

  12. Barbraa Gawel responded on 11 November 2015 at 5:49pm Reply

    I know all ,people who buy ticket due Jonas Kaufmann singing and now are very dissapointment. I suppose Mr Jonas Kaufmann is dissapointment his ilness too. I wish him a really FULL recovery!

  13. Lee McLernon responded on 11 November 2015 at 6:11pm Reply

    I do think it would be appropriate to offer credit notes in cases like this, particularly when the news is announced too late for exchanges to be made in accordance with T&Cs.

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 12 November 2015 at 11:52am

      Hi Lee,

      If you have a ticket for one of the performances, please do contact our Box Office team on +44 (0)20 7304 4000 - they'll be happy to discuss re-sale and exchange options with you.


      ROH Content Producer

  14. David Morris responded on 11 November 2015 at 6:13pm Reply

    Illness happens to us all including Mr Kaufmann. We ALL take a risk when booking tickets and sometimes we are disappointed when artists cancel. Some of the comments above are rude and extremely disrespectful to ALL artists involved. In other words grow up!

  15. Eleonore responded on 11 November 2015 at 6:15pm Reply

    How can you say the sickness of Jonas Kauffman is not a substantial alteration? This is just totally absurd you know why a lot of people have booked this opera. I wouldn't have booked a £ 200 ticket for another artist, I have already seen Carmen several times!! I feel cheated by the ROH and very disappointed by the way you are dealing with this.

  16. Siobhan Turner responded on 11 November 2015 at 6:21pm Reply

    I understand the need to change cast, and the limitations the ROH will face, but I think that at £215/ticket much more flexibility is needed. Kaufman was the draw (however much Mr Mullins wants to claim it was the ROH children's chorus). And, as Ms Parry noted - he was in all the publicity.
    Refunds are clearly not going to be possible, but I think that the ROH in such circumstances should be more flexible. Most of the performances in the current booking cycle (to mid March for the opera) are sold out or almost so; for those travelling from, e.g. France, this is just not enough flexibility. Why not allow a credit, for use in this or the next booking cycle? That allows people to come to something they actually want to see.
    I'm sure Care is perfectly competent, but I didn't pay £215/ticket to see an unknown Italian tenor. It's taken a lot for me to come back to the Royal Opera after the travesty that was Kasper Holten's Eugene Onegin. This does not make me feel more confident.

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 12 November 2015 at 11:51am

      Hi Siobhan,

      Very sorry to disappoint you regarding Jonas' withdrawal from the performances. Please do contact our Box Office team on +44 (0)20 7304 4000 - they'll be happy to discuss re-sale and exchange options with you.


      ROH Content Producer

  17. Anna Woda responded on 11 November 2015 at 6:38pm Reply

    I sympathise with Jonas Kaufmann's recurring virus infections and wish him a speedy recovery, but am so deeply disappointed. I specifically bought tickets for HIS performance of Carmen. One of only two performances he was to give. I like Carmen and saw it at Glyndebourne earlier this year so would not have bought tickets again this year with anyone else singing Don Jose. Kaufmann is such a megastar in the opera world and rightly so, and the ROH know this well! I am sure that regardless of the other currently sold out performances many people bought tickets as I did because they really wanted especially to see and hear him in the role. I feel that under these particular circumstances the ROH terms regarding refunds are unfair. In this case, but with the greatest respect to Care, this is most definitely a substantial change. We should be offered refunds. Watching the DVD is just not the same!

  18. Maria Ashton responded on 11 November 2015 at 6:51pm Reply

    Am not impressed with the news about Jonas Kaufman. I only bought my tickets last night and I struggle to believe the roh were unaware of the situation. I should have been told

    • Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products) responded on 12 November 2015 at 10:42am

      Dear Maria

      I'm sorry that you are disappointed but we were not aware of the cast change when you purchased your tickets. Rest assured that we share the news of any cast changes at the earliest opportunity.

      Best wishes


    • Nola Colman responded on 12 November 2015 at 11:57am

      First, all his friends and fans are praying for Jonas' recovery. He was obviously ill after the London concert in October. A curtain call video is on YT. In pictures at the Echo Klassik awards he looks like he is feverish. He has since cancelled all his concerts (3), including Paris, preceding these Carmens. He also cancelled 2 Carmens at Met (his only US performances in 2015), I was heartbroken but managed to exchange tickets but still lost $. Perhaps opera houses should do as hotels do, charge a higher price for "cancellable" tickets? If you are buying to hear a particular artist (as I was in NY) A ticket buyer could assess their risk based on artist's previous cancellation rate and circumstances (schedule, location, time of year - flu season) to determine their risk. It is called insurance (Lloyds of London are you interested?). Very few operas I would attend based on the work or production REGARDLESS of the artists. These 2 Carmens "sold out" because of Kaufmann. ROH could calculate the difference between the sold-out sales and avg sales on old productions with second and third casts and then offer to refund that % on the £ to those wanting a refund. Also, ROH is not paying Care the same rate Kaufmann earns & expenses are probably less (security, accommodations, transportation) and that amount could be added to the refunds.
      Sharing your frustrations...

  19. Anthony Warren responded on 11 November 2015 at 7:00pm Reply

    I purchased my ticket because Kaufman was singing in Carmen. Can you please confirm that I paid no extra for my seat for Kaufman on Saturday than any other performance of Carmen? If so I would like the difference refunded.

    • Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products) responded on 12 November 2015 at 9:51am

      Dear Anthony

      Sorry for your disappointment.

      Just to set your mind at rest, tickets for all dates of Carmen were priced the same, and most of the dates sold out.

      Best wishes


  20. Gloria Maruffi responded on 11 November 2015 at 7:06pm Reply

    Does anyone recall this happened to us at the MET first week in March JK cancelled two Carmens -by the way his only MET/NY
    Appearances this year. Singers do get sick but he has been going non stop all year & maybe he should slow down. He is middle-aged though he has a new younger lifestyle now. Fans travel to see him & that makes the disappointment worse. Sorry for all of you.

    • Nola Colman responded on 12 November 2015 at 12:20pm

      Yes, I was among the disappointed in NY. I did manage to exchange my tickets for other performances at some loss. Fortunately, I was flying from the west coast on "frequent flyer" miles and was able to cancel my flights and save the miles.
      However, at the Met we were told he might make the 2nd performance when I believe management knew that was not a possibility. At least ROH didn't play that game. He should be in rehearsal or the new La Damnation of Faust in Paris-premiering 12/5 - 3 weeks, rehearsals under way. All Kaufmann's performances are sold out but the later ones with Bryan Hymel (experienced, higher rated than Care) still have availability. Wonder why? Poor Jonas - the pressure must be incredible.

  21. Anna Woda responded on 11 November 2015 at 7:25pm Reply

    P.s. I held on the telephone to the box office for 20 minutes before giving up. Clearly the queue of callers before me were also anxious for a refund!!

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 12 November 2015 at 10:31am

      Hi Anna,

      Apologies about the delay in answering your call. The Box Office did experience high call volume following this announcement. Thank you very much for your patience


      ROH Content Producer

  22. penelope simpson responded on 11 November 2015 at 7:42pm Reply

    This is irritating. Second time I've booked to see Kauffmann at ROH and second time he has been a no-show. Hotel booked, etc as coming long distance. I wonder why he was only doing the two nights - interesting that earlier this year he had two nights booked at The Met and cancelled both of those...

  23. Steve Johnstone responded on 11 November 2015 at 8:30pm Reply

    I am devastated to have just looked at the ROH site and found out this news. I don't want to see anyone else in the opera as seen it a million times. We booked for Jonas no other. If you booked for One Direction and got The Proclaimers all great but surely hardly a replacement. So so disappointed. Really feel that a refund should be offered even if it is on the form of ROH gift card/vouchers. I could cry spending all that money for someone I may now have to go and watch. May not bother. Train fare costs nearly £100. Most upset ROH!

  24. Maria D responded on 11 November 2015 at 8:49pm Reply

    I don't know how often you all go to the opera (any top tier opera) this is a risk you are always taking and you should have built that in you expectations. It happens. Period. That's the reason I bought mid-priced seats (because I've seen this production many many times). I've travelled to New York to see Rolando, he cancelled on me three times that season alone. If you are a true opera lover, you will take this as an opportunity to discover new talent, didn't all the stars of today get a similar break in their younger days? Give the new kids a chance and let's have a great time!

  25. John responded on 11 November 2015 at 8:53pm Reply

    He was booked to do two Carmens at the Met last year and cancelled those due to illness too. Hard to believe it's true, perhaps he's just overworked and it wasn't worth be effort to revise the role?

  26. Pam Elphinstone responded on 11 November 2015 at 10:03pm Reply

    I, like your correspondents, am disappointed Jonas Kaufmann is unable to perform. He cannot help being unwell and would appreciate how we feel. However, he would say he is not indispensable and be pleased the ROH has found a gifted replacement in Andrea Care. It is hard for anyone to stand in such well recognized shoes. I wish you luck Andrea, offer my thanks,and look forward to Monday's performance. Jonas. I wish you a FULL recovery and offer my sympathy for the frustration of your ill health.

  27. karenb responded on 11 November 2015 at 10:35pm Reply

    I was also one of those fortunate enough to be at the rehearsal and to hear Andrea Carre sing. At the end people in the foyer were queuing up to ask front of house staff who he was. I can't imagine why any opera fan would be disappointed with his performance or with that of the rest of the cast. Enjoy.

  28. Patricia Baker responded on 11 November 2015 at 11:38pm Reply

    A message to all you doubters. I was at the dress rehearsal and agree with Roger Mullis. Andrea Care was wonderful. In fact I was so bowled over by his singing that for the remainder of the opera I watched him - he sang from the right hand of the stage. He has a lovely mellow voice.

    Years ago I booked for a Grace Bumbry Carmen. She cancelled. Her replacement was fine - once we got over the disappointment we had a super evening - though I did say to my husband 'If she's fat I'm leaving'.

    Patricia Baker

  29. Martha Dudrow responded on 12 November 2015 at 12:41am Reply

    There is an element of selfishness in some of the comments here; as Barbara Gawel said I am sure Jonas Kaufmann is not thrilled with being sick now, either! Read Mr Mullis' comment, who was not disappointed when he heard Mr Care, All of this "feeling cheated" talk shows little sympathy for the artist who is sick, or for the artist who will be singing in his place, fully aware that some, perhaps many in the audience only bought tickets to hear Jonas Kaufmann, I doubt Mr. Kaufmann would be pleased to hear such comments,

  30. Stephen Taylor responded on 12 November 2015 at 3:21am Reply

    Well, unlike apparently everybody else here, I saw (and heard) Sig. Care when he sang Ismaele in Nabucco , subbing if I recall for an absent Riccardo Massi. And he was perfectly fine, to the point that I'd been surprised at his absence from the house in the interim, and even more so to discover that he was no more than the official Don José cover for this entire run.

    Is he a singer on Kaufmann's level? No, of course not. But then, who is? And more to the point, Care at least turns up and sings when he's contracted to do so, unlike some of his more illustrious "colleagues"

  31. Patrice Berthoud responded on 12 November 2015 at 6:21am Reply

    Second time this year that I missed Jonas Kaufmann after the Met NY in March where he also didn't sing in Carmen. Strange because it also was only two performances in which he had to sing. Not interessed anymore to sing only two days? Overbooked? If really ill, best wishes.

  32. Gabe responded on 12 November 2015 at 8:39am Reply

    Don't be disappointed Jonas Kaufmann is a great singer, but Andrea is no less than everyone else.

  33. Charlie responded on 12 November 2015 at 9:35am Reply

    Illness happens. It's a fact of life, and we need to get over it and probably not hold the Royal Opera House staff responsible for poor fortune. The real frustration here is (a) that this is the only opportunity to see Kaufmann at the Royal this year and (b) that I - like many I suspect - will only go to see Carmen / Boheme / Traviata (i.e. the Royal's annual cash flow items) if the cast is world class.

    This isn't because I'm a monumental opera snob, but the audience atmosphere at the "cash flow" operas tends to be less one of bated excitement and more one of a routine West End theatre hum, and this changes the complexion of any performance for me. The average Carmen audience is up for a night of simple fun at the opera. (I've no problem with that). The average Kaufmann audience is holding their collective breath for a world-class performance. I just hope that everyone doesn't hand back their tickets, and treats these two performances with the reverence they'd have shown had Kaufmann been singing. Otherwise the evening will turn into Carmen: The Broadway Musical [Jazz Hands!] - as it's frequently misrepresented by directors - as opposed to Carmen, the innovative French opera that built upon middle-era Verdi in a way that renders his early death utterly tragic.

  34. Carole Parsons responded on 12 November 2015 at 10:26am Reply

    Of course we are all disappointed that Jonas Kaufmann is ill and unable to sing in Carmen but surely if the only reason to book to see an opera is to hear the principle singer it would be better to go to concert performances,Jonas Kaufmann was singing at the royal festival Hall last month and it was a very enjoyable evening .
    I am still looking forward to Carmen on Saturday and to hearing Andrea Care for the first time.
    I wish Mr Kaufmann well and a speedy recovery

  35. Stephen Cutler responded on 12 November 2015 at 10:57am Reply

    I have tickets for both the Kaufmann nights and am as disappointed as anyone, not least because I also had a ticket for one of the Carmens at the Met that he cancelled. By any standards, I think Kaufmann does cancel a lot. The Caballe of tenors, you might say. Still, I don't understand how people can expect a refund. Where is the money supposed to come from? The ROH has spent all the money getting the show on the stage and still has all the other artists to pay. It's just a risk you take, and with Kaufmann a rather high risk, if not quite in the Harteros league.

    • A Rowley responded on 12 November 2015 at 12:08pm

      "Where is the money [for refunds} supposed to come from"? At the risk of stating the obvious, I believe there is something called "cancellation insurance". The ROH's policy of refusing to refund or exchange tickets to performances which subsequently do not take place as advertised generates considerable ill will and should be reconsidered. It is not enough to state that cancellations "happen" and that we must put up with whatever the ROH decides to provide instead.

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 12 November 2015 at 12:12pm

      Hi Anne,

      We fully appreciate the disappointment on the part of bookers for these performances.

      If you have a ticket for one of these dates, please do contact our Box Office team on +44 (0)20 7304 4000 - as always, they'll be happy to discuss re-sale and exchange options with you.


      ROH Content Producer

  36. Heather Parry responded on 12 November 2015 at 11:04am Reply

    Forgive me, Roger Mullis! I'd forgotten what a tremendous privilege it is to allowed to attend a performance of the Royal Opera. Despite my paying twice, once as a tax payer and again through the box office, the staff of the ROH is doing me an enormous favour by allowing me to take my seat. Really the House should only be open to Patrons who provide the sort of financial support that is expected and deserved. I won't trouble the Royal Opera again.

  37. Gigi T responded on 12 November 2015 at 11:05am Reply

    Do hope ROH sends on all posted mail to JK. The virus that was in London in October when he sang at RFH was vicious.
    Why not stream more performances live to cinemas? Peter Gelb's article about the MET proved it's lucrative for the opera house. I've booked lots of opera and ballet at my local, £12.50 a ticket, free parking, so if the star cancels it's not a great financial loss!
    I'd love to see Herr Kaufmann live again, but it's so difficult to get tickets. Both he and Signor Pappano want more people to access Opera, so why not stream one of each production in future? It's not the same as being there,obviously, but it's far better than no experience at all!
    Granddaughter,aged 12 and I seeing Carlos da Costa tonight at cinema, Very much hoping JK is well for Manon Lescaut in March (Met). Since he's such a draw, why not invite him to sing at ROH more often?
    Do appreciate your loyal clientele ROH , a voucher for another day would appease some.
    Bocca di luppo for Andrea and real concern here that the Maestro is still unwell, but the mesmerising voice of the tenor of our lifetime rightly deserves our patience and understanding.

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 12 November 2015 at 11:55am

      Hi Gigi,

      If you have a ticket, please do contact our Box Office team on +44 (0)20 7304 4000 - they'll be happy to discuss re-sale and exchange options with you.

      In regards cinema relays, we offer a monthly live cinema relay from The Royal Ballet or The Royal Opera (we have one tonight in fact!). These are very popular and the next Royal Opera relay will be the Company's new production of Cavalleria rusticana / Pagliacci on 10 December. You can find out more information about these relays at

      We also offer occasional live-streams of performances and Insights. To be kept up to date about these, subscribe to our YouTube channel (


      ROH Content Producer

    • Gigi T responded on 12 November 2015 at 3:33pm

      Dear Mr. Shipman,
      Thank you for replying. I couldn't get a ticket for Carmen (opera) but am going to Carmen (ballet) live screening at cinema. I have already booked six of these for next year and Dec 13th. It's a brilliant way to enjoy ROH/MET, though even these sell out quickly!
      There are always far more ballet/opera lovers than the ROH can accommodate, so does once a month screenings satisfy the demand? Wouldn't one for each ballet/opera or superstar be better?
      The effect of Kaufmann's singing at LN of the Proms cannot be over emphasized.He had three CDs in the Classic fm top ten in October and they were flying off the shelves.
      Going to the Opera is normal, as both he and Pappano have wished and more live transmissions would not add to their busy schedules.
      Do hope JK returns to ROH 2016/17 and will be accessible to all via live screening and, above all, to full health in due course.

  38. Roger Mullis responded on 12 November 2015 at 11:45am Reply

    Thanks to others above for the support for my comments, by the way. It helps when I think that perhaps I'm going mad!

  39. Naughty Alberich responded on 12 November 2015 at 12:01pm Reply

    I have tickets for Saturday and will still go despite the main reason going was to see JK as Don Jose as it's also a social occasion. The understudy maybe sensational and I wish him all the luck in the world. However, the ROH surely should have had an understudy of very high calibre lined up if JK didn't show? I sympathise greatly with people who were going just to see JK and surely an arrangement such as the like when Domingo pulled out of Tamerlano could be thought of? The ROH marketed Carmen on that basis...

  40. midsman responded on 12 November 2015 at 12:37pm Reply

    Having been a theatre goer/ballet goer/opera and concert goer for over 50 years,I have never once received or ever expected a refund for any change of cast,major or minor.
    It is always disappointing but part of the game!

  41. Steve W. responded on 12 November 2015 at 12:51pm Reply

    I'm afraid I find ROH's Mr Shipman's attitude rather patronising and unhelpful.

    I had tickets for both Saturday and Monday, and now have zero interest in seeing an understudy twice. I have an elderly friend who I'm going with who said Kaufmann was her only reason for seeing Carmen for the fiftieth (and last) time.

    The tickets were unduly expensive. Is Care being paid the same or 'worth' the same as Kaufmann? I imagine not... ROH needs to do better than hide behind a returns policy that is only designed to protect its revenue stream.

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 12 November 2015 at 1:01pm

      Hi Steve,

      We fully appreciate your disappointment having booked for two performances, both of which have been affected by this cast change.
      Please do contact the Box Office on +44 (0)20 7304 4000. They will be more than happy to discuss exchange and re-sale options with you.


      ROH Content Producer

  42. Richard Green responded on 12 November 2015 at 2:38pm Reply

    I bought a ticket for Saturday to see Carmen and JK singing in it. I think it rather disingenuous of ROH to use JK as a star attraction when it suits them and then say the opera is really the important thing. I'll still be attending and I wish Andrea Carè every success - but a bit more honesty from ROH would be welcome.

    • Steve Johnstone responded on 12 November 2015 at 9:44pm

      I agree Richard. People aren't paying hundreds of pounds unless they can afford it to see an opera with any old singer in it. Jonas was the draw and advertised. Now I have to go and see someone else and really don't want to. I could have driven 15 miles down the road, paid £30 to see any old Tom, Dick or Harry in Carmen on tour if I wanted to see it that bad. I've seen it many times. I paid the money to see Jonas.

  43. In light of all the furore over the Kaufmann cancellations, it might be a good idea for the ROH to reconsider its ticket return/exchange policy. I returned two tickets for Saturday's Carmen as we had bought particularly expensive tickets solely because Kaufmann was billed to be singing. Putting them up for resale seemed too risky because it was obvious there would be a flood of returns. As we have already purchased tickets for Eugene Onegin, Cav/Pag and Il Trittico this season and there was nothing else left that we wanted to exchange our tickets for, the only option offered me was to buy two more tickets we do not want for a another performance of Eugene Onegin and then exchange them again when booking for the new season opens. This is madness - time consuming for your box office staff and very frustrating for your customers. I'm not expecting a refund, but why couldn't I just be given a credit note to use when the new productions go on sale? Provided tickets were returned within the time limit, this wouldn't ultimately make any difference financially to the Opera House and would do wonders for customer relations. This policy is used successfully by the National Theatre and the Barbican. I know you have no control over whether a singer is ill, but you could alleviate people's disappointment somewhat with a more flexible exchange policy.

  44. penelope simpson responded on 12 November 2015 at 7:41pm Reply

    I think the message to Opera Houses is that it is unwise to book Kauffmann for just two performances. I am not doubting that he is unwell, but it is obviously easier for him to break a short commitment rather than a longer one.

    Like so many others, I am now saddled with expensive tickets, train fare and a hotel room to see a star who is not available. I accept that this is part and parcel of the Arts in the same way that Natalia Osipova was unable to perform on this season, so more wasted tickets. However, I do think that ROH should, in future, ensure that when they book Jonas K, they engage him for at least 2/3weeks.

  45. Nina Battleday responded on 12 November 2015 at 7:48pm Reply

    As a,frequent ballet goer and occasional,opera goer I have become used, over the years, to cast changes necessitated by illness or accident. Because of this I've often seen excellent performances by often lesser known artists. However, it would be helpful if the Opera House could adopt the system mentioned by Jen where tickets can be returned and a credit note issued . I've had cause to be grateful to both the National and the RSC for doing this. I would not agree with refunds being given just because an advertised artist doesn't appear, but a credit note, yes.

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 13 November 2015 at 11:06am

      Hi Nina,

      If you have a ticket, please do contact the Box Office who'll be happy to discuss options including exchange.


      ROH Content Producer

  46. Trevor responded on 12 November 2015 at 8:18pm Reply

    How disappointing. We have travelled from Brussels for this performance with all its attendant costs. I guess it is a continuation of the illness that forced JK to cancel his Brussels recital, for which we also had tickets, which was scheduled to follow the RFH performance but in the far better Brussels Palais des Beaux Arts concert hall. JK is human but we simply wouldn't have come to London for this performance had he not been on the playbill. I hope his replacement is sufficently good to justify the high prices that we paid for what was going to be a premium performance...,

  47. Alice Singleton responded on 12 November 2015 at 8:54pm Reply

    I find all of this uproar quite strange in view of the fact that the ballerina Osipova cancelled her autumn season here due to "injury" and yet has just danced Manon at La Scala during the same period. I suspect balletomanes are not as partisan as their operatic counterparts.

  48. Steve Johnstone responded on 12 November 2015 at 9:54pm Reply

    We have tickets for Tosca next year too solely booked on that fact we want to see AG in the role.. I hope AG isn't I'll because I don't feel that I want to pay £430+ for tickets again and not see the artist you came to see. This experience has really put me off booking tickets at the ROH again. am devastated not to see JK. Im sure we will have a great night but deviate yes nor to see JK and really don't want to go. No disrespect to theb replacement.

  49. Patricia Baker responded on 12 November 2015 at 11:14pm Reply

    Dear Naughty Alberich you have not heard Andrea Care sing so stop fussing. Even in his suit, singing in the wings at the Dress Rehearsal he WAS Don Jose. Spoiler - is this really Kaufmann's role? Perhaps in his guts he feels it is not which could, perhaps, explain why he also cancelled the Met's production in the Spring.

    • Ron Pollard responded on 18 November 2015 at 4:24am

      Mr Kaufmann has sung Don Jose in Carmen many 2 DVDs will show. He sang the role this summer in L'Orange and the role really suits him. He is ill and he cancelled. It has nothing to do with his suitability for the role.

  50. Catherine responded on 13 November 2015 at 4:32am Reply

    Being French and living in Paris, I had booked two tickets for the only opera from the second half of 2015 that I wanted to see because of J. Kaufmann. As I can not cancel my train tickets and hotel unlike my accompanying friend, I called the Box Office yesterday and had to hold on for 10 min. before getting someone online. Despite his perceptible tiredness due to a long busy day, the assistant was very affable and competent; he managed to grant my request, i.e. to immediately "exchange" my two tickets for only one better seat, along with a gift certificate and without charging any fees (actually, technically speaking, it was a re-sale + an exchange).
    Notwithstanding the terms and conditions of sale, the ROH shows evidence of flexibility and has a strong sense of customer service! A high understanding and an awareness of its clients' expectation, that I really appreciate, since the two dates with J. Kaufmann were priced the same.
    Of course, I am very disappointed but I still feel privileged to have opportunities to attend opera performances, especially in a great opera house such as the ROH.

  51. Annette responded on 13 November 2015 at 6:59am Reply

    I cannot understand people's unprofessionality regarding the withdrawal of Jonas Kaufmann due to illness. I am a big Jonas fan, too, but would never think of asking for a refund or selling my ticket - as expensive at it might be. We are all more or less regular opera goers and grown-ups. As these we must understand that there are risks no opera house can avoid - not even the prestigious ROH. I, too, had already bought tickets and then there was a cast what. I do enjoy the atmosphere at an opera house, before, during the performance and after. And I totally agree with other commenters: let's not be unprofessional and disrispectful of Jonas' replacement, Mr. Carè. I haven't heard him, yet, but had I bought a ticket for one of these 2 Carmen productions, I would have been very curious how he performs in the role of Don José. I remember a recent replacement for Sonya Yoncheva in "La Traviata" and she was simply marvellous. So let surprise you by Mr. Carè and stop sulking like little children because you don't get what you want. Fullstop and end of comment.
    Best regards from France, Annette

  52. penelope simpson responded on 13 November 2015 at 9:08am Reply

    To the poster mentioning Osipova, you are wrong to say there wasn't a problem here. It has been much discussed on websites and has not gone down well.

  53. Ekaterina responded on 13 November 2015 at 9:23am Reply

    An enviable replacement for those who love opera. I really regret I won't be there. While all the world travels to see Jonas Kaufmann, I am the one who actually travels to see Andrea Care. This summer in Stockholm he was a dream-like Jose, just like he was an excellent Pinkerton last summer in Savonlinna and an incredible Stiffelio earlier last season in Stockholm. And in 2013 in Moscow he was the best Don Carlo ever, I say that as the one who saw every video available and heard most of recordings. True, his Jason did not impress me, and his Cavaradossi was not as breathtaking as I expected, but yet - there are not many artists of such quality today.

  54. A Rowley responded on 13 November 2015 at 9:51am Reply

    I see Mr Shipman has ignored my point about cancellation insurance. Surely ROH is adequately covered against no-shows? If a pop star cancels a gig there are refunds all round, so what's the difference? As Jen says, you need to rethink your returns and exchange policy. And please do not tell me, again, to phone the box office to discuss my options.

    • Stephen Cutler responded on 13 November 2015 at 5:14pm

      There is no major opera house in the world that would have given refunds in these circumstances. If the show is cancelled, then of course you get a refund. If they charge a premium price because of a particular artist, as the ROH did sometimes with Pavarotti, then you may get some money back if the artist cancels. But these two performances were priced the same as all the rest. Few opera houses offer a flexible ticket exchange services to all customers as the ROH does, and very few indeed offer to resell tickets, which the ROH has just successfully done today for my tickets for both these performances. So while there may or may not be grounds for complaint against Kaufmann, depending on how ill you think he is, I can't see that there is any cause for complaint against the ROH.

    • priscilla responded on 14 November 2015 at 10:37am

      Mr Shipman

      please respond to thus gentlemen's comment concerning cancellation insurance and the idea of a credit voucher

  55. Helen responded on 13 November 2015 at 10:45am Reply

    I have just found out about the cancellation. I have seen the production before and loved it, but would not have opted to see it again except for the fact that Jonas Kaufman was cast. I have tried to get through to the box office, without any joy, to confirm what my options are at this stage. I would appreciate a response, as the comments trail suggest there may be more options than resale. Thank you.

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 13 November 2015 at 10:57am

      Hi Helen,

      Apologies about the delay in answering your call - the team are experiencing very high call demand at the moment. Please do try again. The Box Office team will be happy to discuss options available to you of re-sale or exchange.

      Thank you for your understanding and patience,

      ROH Content Producer

  56. Dr Richard Walsh responded on 13 November 2015 at 11:29am Reply

    Calm down dearies - I too am disappointed but such are the pitfalls of live opera. JK is only human and who would want his lifestyle? Having to meet the expectations of a privileged elite, then
    factor-in the pressures of superstardom; this is enough to stress even the best of singers. Remember there are no two takes in opera and Andrea Care may yet surprise us all.
    I had the pleasure of enjoying Carmen and Madama Butterfly in 3D and surround-sound on board a cruise liner, with plush seats and no extraneous noise, earlier in the year. To say I was impressed is an understatement.

  57. John M. responded on 13 November 2015 at 11:46am Reply

    Jen's comment above, suggesting a credit note for returned tickets, sounds like a very good idea. I hope the ROH gives it some thought. I too am disappointed that I will not hear Mr Kaufmann. Having seen this production so many times, he was my only reason for booking. However, after 40+ years of opera going, late cancellations are nothing new and one invariably survives. Of course, we can't make a singer appear if he/she decides not to sing. The thing is that one hears the illness reason so often that it is difficult not to become a little cynical. Some postings here would seem to indicate that people are putting two and two together and coming up with perhaps more than four. As I have not yet heard Rachvelishvili or Yoncheva, there's still lots for me to look forward to and I hope Mr Carè has a great success.

  58. Michael de Navarro responded on 13 November 2015 at 12:31pm Reply

    This is very sad. Like many others having seen Carmen many many times(and loving it) I only booked this time because of Jonas Kaufmann. However we are where we are and I shall give it a go (and the rest of the cast certainly looks fairly good particularly the Micaela). Ill health of course happens (and we all hope Jonas makes a swift recovery; unlike Anja Harteros he is not a serial offender). It is however particularly sad as these 2 performances were among the very few with truly world class casts. ROH used to be one of the top 5 opera houses in the world, but it is seems increasingly rare that we get the current really great singers. This year there is no Netrebko or Stemme or di Donato or Garanca. Indeed in Stemme's case we only seem to get her once in about 5 years and one has to go to the cinema to see her performances (e.g. Turandot/Electra from the Met) All the other major houses seem to get them regularly. Is ROH becoming a second rate provincial house?

    • Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products) responded on 14 November 2015 at 5:07pm

      Dear Michael

      Thank you for your comment.

      Nina Stemme was with us for Tristan und Isolde in December, while Netrebko was here for Boheme in the summer. Joyce DiDonato joins us in June for Werther.

      We have other wonderful singers to look forward to including Eva-Maria Westbroek and Aleksandrs Antonenko in Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky in Eugene Onegin (to name but a few).

      Best wishes


  59. Liane responded on 13 November 2015 at 8:03pm Reply

    I also had a ticket for Jonas for today and needless to say was disappointed but not too surprised that he had cancelled. In my opinion he is overdoing his appearances, not realising that he is not superman but "only" human" and that resistance can get low, especially in the later part of the year when one works so hard and has to look forward to another long run of a new opera (La Damnation de Faust). I love the opera Carmen, have seen in many times and will see it many times, but since I have already seen Hymel last month, whom I also wanted to see since he had impressed me very much as Aneas in the Trojans when he replaced Jonas, I decided I'd rather exchange my ticket for Tosca. Now I regret it after reading so much how good Andrea Care is.

    No other great opera house will take tickets back or even offer returns, like the ROH saying that you buy an opera and NOT an artist. I have missed Jonas before in Paris (Werther) and also in The Staatsoper Muenchen( Carmen), as well as Scala and none of these houses would give any refund or exchange even. I think our opera house is very fair and always enjoy going there and always will. The whole cast of this Carmen is wonderful and it is not fair on any of them particularly not on Care, to rubbish him and make them feel that only because of Jonas would it have been worthwhile to go and see the opera.

    This now I say as one of Jonas' longest standing and greatest fans. But I do also like to hear, see and appreciate other

    By the way Paverotti was noticed for the first time when he had to replace another singer, I think it was in Bologna, and the rest is history. Probably the audience was not to happy at the beginning either.

  60. sue parlby responded on 14 November 2015 at 1:06pm Reply

    I think it is outrageous that the ROH will not consider any kind of compensation for people who have booked for tonight JUST to see Jonas Kauffman in 1 of the 2 performances. You know full well how difficult it was to get tickets for these particular performances - it has left the likes of us in a difficult position regarding selling them on. I have no doubt we will enjoy another singer, but that is not why many of us spent a lot of energy, time and money to see Carmen on this particular night. Shame on you!

  61. sue parlby responded on 14 November 2015 at 1:09pm Reply

    How interesting that certain comments about the cancellation of Jonas Kauffman and ROH policy on this are not published!

    • Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products) responded on 14 November 2015 at 3:04pm

      Dear Sue

      Our comments section is pre-moderated, to avoid the publication of spam comments. That is why you may see a delay in comments being published, particularly at the weekend.

      Best wishes


  62. sue parlby responded on 14 November 2015 at 3:02pm Reply

    I would like to suggest the ROH makes a very simple gesture regarding the cancellation of Jonas Kauffman on Saturday - by offering the programmes free.
    A token demonstration that it genuinely cares about making opera accessible to all, and where ROH and its punters are taking a mutual risk (rather than a one-way risk).

    I for one am currently on a zero-hour contract and have already taken the following risks: buying an opera ticket to see an opera star who I won't get to see, unlikely to be able to sell on my ticket for an unknown tenor, as well as the expense of travelling to London just for this.

    There may well be a day when I decide to treat all my grandchildren who will become your future audience.. At the moment I would be reluctant to do this with the ROH given its attitude towards no refunds in a star culture.

    So, how about it?

  63. Kathryn responded on 14 November 2015 at 3:19pm Reply

    Not going to bother trying to see JK in a performance again. Whatever the reason for all the cancellations he needs to get it sorted. Beautiful voice but not very interested in his audiences. Think I'll transfer my allegiance to AC instead as has a great voice and is reliable. I did find all the ROH responses somewhat dismissive of their customers. Looking forward to the performance tonight.

    • Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products) responded on 14 November 2015 at 3:40pm

      Dear Kathryn

      We are very sympathetic to the disappointment people feel when an artist cancels, and we certainly don't wish to be dismissive. Artists are only human and sadly they sometimes do have to withdraw. To offer refunds (or credit notes), however, is something we regretfully cannot do.

      Best wishes


    • priscilla responded on 15 November 2015 at 2:54pm

      Dismissive? Mr Shipman dismissive? How can that be? Call the box office and wait ,,,.in about an hour you may be able to speak ... perhaps be heard

    • Michael Varcoe-Cocks responded on 16 November 2015 at 11:19pm

      It would be interesting if Ellen West (Head of Online Content), the Box Office Manager or preferably Mr Holten could please explain to us all why "To offer refunds (or credit notes), however, is something we regretfully cannot do". I understand a policy decision not to offer refunds, but credit notes, subject to a reasonable administration fee, which intrinsically means no revenue loss, could clearly be introduced if there was a will. Why is this something the ROH "cannot do", as opposed to do not want to do?

    • Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products) responded on 17 November 2015 at 11:09am

      We would like to thank everyone who has posted here for their feedback. In the light of audience reaction we will be reviewing our policies relating to exchanges and credit notes.

      Best wishes


  64. Jane responded on 14 November 2015 at 5:16pm Reply

    So lucky to have heard Andrea Carè at the rehearsal and I was one of those many people in the foyer at the end asking who he was. He was exceptional, especially as he had to stand and sing at the side of the stage while Bryan Hymel, followed by the director, mimed the actual performance. I find it extremely disingenuous that so many people feel they have been cheated by slating Jonas Kaufmann's replacement without even having heard him. In short it sounds as though some of these irate people have bought tickets just so they could say "I was there". I wish Jonas a speedy recovery and very best wishes to Andrea having to now perform in such difficult circumstances.

  65. Annette Bugden responded on 14 November 2015 at 5:41pm Reply

    Dear oh dear. I'm assuming all the comments made here are by superhuman people who have never experienced any form of illness in their lives?!
    Personally I'm thrilled to have been able to source two great tickets for a previously sold out show that I wanted to see (again!) Thanks Jonas and I hope you feel better soon x

  66. Don't even like Carmen responded on 14 November 2015 at 10:52pm Reply

    Care did pretty well, as Yoncheva. Escamillo credible enough. The rest is dire, but I blame Bizet, three minutes of music an opera don't make. (Yes I know I'm biased). Easily the least sexy Carmen ever. A new production would be a good thing (though I'd likely skip it).

  67. Paul Rothwell responded on 15 November 2015 at 7:37am Reply

    So glad to have the opportunity to observe a minute silence prior to Carmen last night. It puts problems like artist cancellations into perspective. I thought Andrea Care gave a very good performance - we should not forget that without him we might not have had a performance at all. A very enjoyable evening.

  68. penelope simpson responded on 15 November 2015 at 12:29pm Reply

    I think Mr. Kaufmann had the right idea. Last night's show felt flat to me. Carmen had a great voice but zero acting skills and came across as more trollope than temptress. Poor Mr. Care was understandably nervous and did not come across well - for me, anyway. I don't think there was a shred of chemistry between them and I never got the feeling of any passion.

    Micaela was beautifully sung and Escamillo injected a note of drama but I didn't feel the production worked on any level. Note to directors: You have to get all that business with the rope sorted out, the singers got themselves tied up in knots with it and not the way the way they were meant to. Similarly, and I choose my words carefully, when your Carmen has a generous figure, best not to have her lie down on top of Don Jose. The effect from above was...!

    Moving words from the Director at the beginning of the performance and deep respect from the audience.

  69. Carole Parsons responded on 15 November 2015 at 6:55pm Reply

    I thought Andrea Care gave a very good performance as did the other main singers especially Sonya Yoncheva. If anything it was tha audience which was subdued which was not surprising given the events in Paris and the fact that some did not know that Kaufmann was not singing until they arrived at the Royal Opera House.
    Many complaints about the cancellation by Kaufmann but several years ago we arrived in Vienna expecting to see Verdi's Jerusalem and discovered that the schedule had changed and La Boheme was being performed that evening instead. So - a change of tenor yesterday but at least the performance went ahead thanks to Andrea Care .

  70. Jonathan Turton responded on 15 November 2015 at 8:02pm Reply

    Like many commentators, I bought tickets specifically to enable a friend to see Jonas Kaufmann sing the role live, the two of us having seen a stunning performance on DVD. I did not otherwise wish to see Carmen or this production again. More than that, I upgraded my friends' status to a supporting friend solely to ensure good tickets, and even then there were few left when booking opened.

    There are several disingenuous comments, of which the ROH pointing out the ability to offer a ticket for resale is the worst. The "No opera house offers refunds" is a self-justifying statement, and smacks of a cartel. Luckily for opera houses like the ROH, they charge so much money that I suspect the OFT probably concludes that punters can look after themselves.

    This isn't about Mr Kaufmann not being able to sing, but the way opera houses run their businesses and have limited regard for their audiences.

    At these prices, it is not appropriate to criticise people for buying tickets because they wish to see particular artists, especially when they are at the top of world class.

    Having said that, the comments about Mr Carè are stunning, and I am looking forward to hearing him.


  71. Ronny Reagan responded on 15 November 2015 at 10:12pm Reply

    OMG, you people are the worst! This is what happens with live performances. People cancel. If you had tickets to the US Open and Serena Williams pulled out from an injury, would you demand refunds? Give the staff at ROH a break or just listen to a CD in your apartment. No will cancel when you press play.

    • Michael Varcoe-Cocks responded on 16 November 2015 at 11:09pm

      If Ms Williams pulled out of the US Women's Open Final I would expect a full refund in the unthinkable circumstance that I would have bought a ticket for such an event, as no replacement is ever provided for a final. The real issue here however is, as explained in my (over-)long post above, that where it is obvious to everyone that most people chose one of the 2 JK performances to see HIM, not the opera (which many of us have seen many, many times), a credit note should be available for a last-minute cancellation where exchange for another show is practically impossible. It is also good customer relations and involves no revenue loss.

  72. Diana responded on 16 November 2015 at 10:54am Reply

    I've been unexpectedly asked to go to tonight's performance with a friend as his wife is unwell - and I'm delighted to be going. Obviously I'm not in the position of many people who have commented in that I haven't bought an expensive ticket just to see JK, but I've been there before: concellations by Bryn Terfel, Sylvie Guillem, Natalia Osipova... it's disappointing, but in every case the replacement has given an excellent performance. And yes, I've seen Carmen many times too. But for me going to the ROH is always a treat; as a student I used to go every week in the cheapest seats, now it's a rare occurrence as I live out of London. So I for one am really looking forward to tonight, and more than anything to the chance of hearing a rising young singer, a protegé of Pavarotti.

  73. Mark Stobbs responded on 16 November 2015 at 10:21pm Reply

    I've sympathy with both sides in this debate. I've certainly booked for operas I would not otherwise have booked for because I particularly wanted to hear the singers and been unhappy when, Domingo, Gheorghui, Netrebko or whoever cancels (I used to think I was Netrebko's personal jinx it happened so often). I imagine that's been the case ever since star singers came into existence. And when we book, we all, if we're honest, know what the deal is. And, if you don't even like the opera, then my sympathy evaporates...

    However, I wonder if the Opera House might consider charging a "Just Want Kaufmann" premium as a sort of insurance policy for those who want to see a particular singer or singers only. Payment of that premium would entitle you to a refund if, say, one of the three leads didn't turn up. I imagine that the amount would have to be pretty hefty and I wonder how many people would actually pay it. Still, its availability would be a pretty good answer to those who decided to take the risk. In a lucky season, it might even make the ROH some more money...

    Just a thought.

  74. nigel ashton responded on 17 November 2015 at 12:28pm Reply

    Jonas Kaufmann would have been totally out of place in the mediocre performance of Carmen last night. The lack of tension and sexual energy was remarkable. A rather dreary and mundane evening not enhanced by filming on a phone in the front row of the stalls.

    • maire eiblis responded on 18 November 2015 at 9:46am

      Each to their own view, Nigel.
      But I do wonder if your reaction was caused (not merely influenced) by lack of JK and attendant feelings. For me, the playing alone was little short of sensational (perhaps the orchestra and the others were indeed determined to give of their best due to JK absence). The soloists are not going to win many prizes for sexual performers of the year, but their singing was terrific (and acting passable). An excellent performance ; to my surprise if I'm honest, it was a really good night at the opera.

  75. John responded on 17 November 2015 at 2:07pm Reply

    Well I went last night and very much enjoyed it. Care did a good job, even if he has that tenor's trait of scooping up to every high note from three notes below (Alagna, Alvarez, Cura etc). Rachvelishveli has a huge, gorgeous voice and only needed to maintain some of the dramatic intensity in her quiet singing to be a truly great Carmen. Yoncheva was a wonderful Micaela. If Kaufmann had turned up, it might have been a real five star evening!

  76. I was delighted to read Ellen West's post of today saying that, in the light of all the audience reaction to Jonas Kaufmann's cancellation, The ROH is now at last going to review its policies on exchanges and credit notes. Maybe something good will come out of all this after all!

    • Michael Varcoe-Cocks responded on 17 November 2015 at 7:00pm

      It is refreshing to read that the ROH management is responding to its patrons responses in a constructive manner on this issue. Is there any hope that they will now do something about the foul fish smell that permeates the Floral Hall before performances on the not-infrequent occasions that the caterers decide to serve fish to in-house diners?

  77. Jonathan Turton responded on 17 November 2015 at 6:17pm Reply

    Went last night - and both my friend and I thought the performance superb, Andrea Carè performed brilliantly.

  78. John M. responded on 17 November 2015 at 6:35pm Reply

    Well, that was a pretty ordinary performance on Monday evening. There was no tension apart from what looked like Micaela almost missing her first entrance. I grew tired of Carmen's repeated defiant open -armed "Come on, then" stance. Is that really what Carmen is all about? I knew that I did not want to see this production again and had only booked, hoping to hear JK in one of his few opera performances at CG this season. Well, I am paid for it now. I thought Andrea Care did well and deserved his warm reception. Perhaps invite him to sing the role in a new production, which the house badly needs and which will hopefully not be set in a run-down bus shelter on the edge of a struggling industrial estate where the occasional bull fighter turns up.

    • maire eiblis responded on 18 November 2015 at 8:18pm

      In many ways, John, that is exactly what Carmen is about. The original novel is arguably more specific (and more dark) than the opera, but Carmen is absolutely "I will have who I want, when I want, on my terms" - without a trace of guilt and without a shred of fear of anyone's disapproval, man or woman. She is totally open and unashamed about it. There is nothing subtle about her "temptress in action". Whether that is agreeable or reprehensible or anything in between is up to the reader / viewer / listener to decide, but that is the character. Not a tramp or a temptress, per se, but simply a person who knows her terms and is not afraid to let the world know what they are.

    • John M. responded on 19 November 2015 at 12:49pm

      Thank you, maire eiblis, for your reply. I also know the novel. I was referring more to the very superficial gestures, including the skirt lifting/thigh showing mentioned by another contributor, which were employed to delineate a very complex character, even in the opera, whilst the dialogue "Tu es le diable, Carmen/ Oui, je te l'ai déjà dit", for example, went for nothing. Your comments on Carmen's character are astute but the hands on hips, leg showing, defiant palms and chin are too much of a cliché to work effectively, in my humble opinion.

  79. Anne Siddell responded on 17 November 2015 at 7:44pm Reply

    I went last night and thoroughly enjoyed the evening, particularly Andrea Care's performance. However, I am beginning to question the value of my Friends membership: there is little point in paying for priority booking to see major stars who are then indisposed, as seems to be happening with increasing frequency.

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 18 November 2015 at 3:23pm

      Hi Anne,

      We always regret when an artist becomes ill and cannot perform. In Jonas' case, the withdrawal was unfortunately at short notice. We are very grateful to all our Friends for their generous support and I hope that you will join us all in wishing Jonas a speedy recovery.


      ROH Content Producer

  80. maire eiblis responded on 18 November 2015 at 12:24am Reply

    It was a fabulous performance.
    Like many, had booked for Carmen only because JK was in it, and (having seen this production several times) was close to not bothering to go.
    The playing was exceptional - possibly the best I have ever heard the score represented.
    The cast were excellent including Care.
    It was a great night at the opera.

  81. John D responded on 18 November 2015 at 12:43pm Reply

    Andrea Carè was absolutely superb - quality is in the voice - not just the name!

    That said Escamillo's entrance on the horse - I'm not sure which one looked more frightened!

  82. Brendan Quinn responded on 18 November 2015 at 12:56pm Reply

    These things happen, I recall one time having tickets to hear Domingo in Otello a long time ago in the early 1980s. He hardly ever cancelled but hey ho, he did this night. John Tooley apparently rang Charles Craig (then retired), his wife said he's down at Sainsburys I will get him to ring you back. He did, and a car was sent to collect him with the score and recording on cassette tapes to listen to. He sang the part and kept the show on the road. These things happen. I came over from Ireland just to hear JK sing, and was disappointed, I really would not have travelled for Carmen, I think it is a basket case of an opera, but this time only came for JK. When I got the ROH I only became aware of it then. Andrea Care did well but he is not JK, His voice was tired in the final act. It was a workmanlike lack lustre performance all round the audience were subdued, It convinced me why I haven't seen Carmen for 25 years why I won't ever book for it again, no matter who is scheduled to sing. I will leave it to those who do actually enjoy this disjointed basket case of an opera. Mind you expecting three sensational performances in a row was expecting too much, Ariadne and Orfee were sensational. It can't always be the best you have ever seen!

  83. Ekaterina N responded on 18 November 2015 at 3:01pm Reply

    I too booked tickets only because of JK as Carmen is not an opera I want to hear again and again. Nevertheless, on learning of JK's cancellation I had decided to go in any case and I do not regret this decision.
    No, Andrea Care is not JK, but he did quite well. Yoncheva was wonderful.

    Carmen's lifting of her skirts and stroking her legs was very crude and monotonous.
    It is a pity director could not think of some subtler ways to show a temptress in action, so to say.

  84. Maria Schwartz responded on 27 November 2015 at 9:46pm Reply

    I also travelled far (from. US) To see this production with mr Kaufmann. I took the cancellation in stride and thought that the ROH would not let me down and I would still see great opera. I would have been happy with good. It was not even adequate
    Mr Care has had what experience in starring roles? I found none on Internet. He was flat and I referred to his performance to mr Holten as a dead cod. He mispronounced the French terribly. Spoke several words rather than sing and had no passion for poor Carmen who worked hard but had no one to work with.
    I told him that it was a travesty not to have had a suitable replacement of better experience and caliber.
    I was frankly blown off.
    He stood by his decision to have this poor soul be the star tenor and assures me he was adequate....although he was not present on the 16 when I saw the opera.
    I left at intermezzo as many did.
    The ROH needs to have a better handle on how to understudy for. Cancellations which do happen of course.
    Kristina Opelais just stepped into. The role for la boheme at the Met. She was t the Met would not have dared put someone like mr Care in the role of don Jose! The audience would not have tolerated a second rate performance.
    I suppose Londoners are too polite to complain, although ive read a few here.

    A terribly inadequate performance. They should have cancelled if they had a heart for the theaters goers instead of their own purse!

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