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Marina Poplavskaya to perform in Les Vêpres siciliennes on Monday 21 October

Russian soprano will sing the role of Hélène, as originally scheduled.

By Ellen West (Head of Online Content)

21 October 2013 at 1.51pm | 38 Comments

We are happy to announce that Marina Poplavskaya will perform in Verdi’s Les Vêpres siciliennes tonight.

Les Vêpres siciliennes runs from 17 October – 11 November 2013. The production will also be screened live in cinemas around the world on 4 November.

By Ellen West (Head of Online Content)

21 October 2013 at 1.51pm

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged cast change, Marina Poplavskaya

This article has 38 comments

  1. Stephen Cutler responded on 21 October 2013 at 2:41pm Reply

    Amazing indeed that Haroutounian falling sick coincides with Poplavskaya rising from her previously announced sick bed. More amazing still that Popsy is due to return to said sick bed immediately after tonight's show in anticipation of Haroutounian's scheduled return on Thursday.

    Are we seriously supposed to believe this?

    • Placito Sabado responded on 22 October 2013 at 9:02am

      You are so right-just one big bunch of lies! the rumor is (through the orchestra we heard they knew on sunday Poplavskaya was to sing-her costumes needed to be refitted the next DAY - why not on sat or sunday??? These people knew about Lianna's illness-she sang a lot (Frankfurt same role right?-just last week?) Ms. Popavskaya's nerves must have been tested 10000V/minute!! how unfair-no orchestra run, no piano tune up, no staging since 2 weeks! - just do it ! rumors are that she has been treated really badly. How can opera be so inhuman! She saved last years Robert, le Diable no? amazing!

  2. Albert responded on 21 October 2013 at 3:44pm Reply

    Well, I'm not happy at all. I changed my booking to tonight (in worse seats) to avoid Poplavskaya and was so excited about seeing Lianna Haroutounian again. I can't go on Thursday, when Haroutounian is hopefully still singing, but I'm very envious of everyone who will hear her then.

  3. Ian Greenwood responded on 21 October 2013 at 4:01pm Reply

    How disappointing. This woman's voice is all over the place. Hopefully she'll pull out again before the performance I have booked.

  4. Simon Carbery responded on 21 October 2013 at 4:02pm Reply

    Quite a few people who weren't bothered about this show when they saw Poplovskaya was singing experienced a massive volte-face when Haroutounian was named as her replacement. The poor folk who forked out for last minute tickets to see a brilliant singer replace a dodgy one are now desperately trying to unload their tickets. Really, Covent Garden, you can't do this to people.

  5. Rog responded on 21 October 2013 at 4:09pm Reply

    Despite having been last week so ill that she was due to be out of action for at least the dress and the first three performances....and Lianna Haroutounian is still scheduled to perform on Thursday, according to your cast page. Would the Royal Opera House care to offer an explanation that isn't full of holes?

    • Mireille responded on 23 October 2013 at 1:16am

      Oh boy some of you really give comments as in Desperate Housewives-I bet you have great voices right? ever tried to sing an opera? low frequency thoughts will bounce back into your own mirrors!

  6. Rog responded on 21 October 2013 at 4:09pm Reply

    ...or indeed more byzantine than the plot of the opera itself?

  7. David responded on 21 October 2013 at 5:04pm Reply

    Such a pity. I only booked for tonight because Poplavskaya was due to be replaced with the wonderful Lianna Haroutounian.

  8. Kasper Holten responded on 21 October 2013 at 5:18pm Reply

    Lianna Haroutounian unfortunately suffers from laryngitis. We are very grateful that under the circumstances Marina feels ready to go on tonight, although of course she missed the last crucial rehearsals and had not expected to go on until later in the run. We hope it will be an exciting performance. We have not yet had time to assess the situation around Thursday's performance, but will of course announce it in due course if Lianna is not singing it as currently advertised. Apologies for any confusion this has caused. Kasper

    • Mireille responded on 22 October 2013 at 9:14am

      Monsieur, it is a disgrace what you did last night to a great artist who has been faithful and through all hardships at ROH. La Juive, Don Giovanni, replacing Mme. Netrebko (Donna Anna) within the performance!, and all the Amalias. the Don Carlo, etc...Mme Poplavskaya deserves a respectful treatment not what you just did. Void of rehearsal for 2 weeks as you knew only too well- she saved your show last night and did some amazing good work considering she never performed this opera! Maybe the musical director could have worked with her? ROH has a true artist who has a voice and who was used (as most singers) too much. do you know how pressure kills the vocal cords? Who can a director not plan second casts for such a taxing role? Are you out to destroy or build up music, singers, musicians or serve glamor and knighthood? How sad you are buying into this instead of supporting ART in a human way! Every thought and action have an effect on all; what you did yesterday will effect ROH and you! We have seen and heard last night and we don't approve! We despise such ways and this artist is not the first artist treated that way!

    • Mireille responded on 25 October 2013 at 6:07pm

      Monsieur, we will for you at the next Vespri and speak to you in person-it will be easy; my husband is of a large size so it will be easy to recognize me and yes we have met once before. It was a great stint to have the last soprano; I liked her-no we want to see her...at least better than your the second cast. We are interested to know if she used a mic (some singers do; we saw this before). We'd like to indeed meet you verrrry much. We are even in possibly the same masonic lodge as you and the maestro whom we really love. We so hope that all the needed peace will return to the opera house now.

  9. Malcolm responded on 21 October 2013 at 5:29pm Reply

    Damn Damn Damn!!
    REALLY hoping she would be out for whole run!
    Esp forNov 1
    You never know!!!

  10. Sarah responded on 21 October 2013 at 9:03pm Reply

    All the best to Marina for her performance tonight. I have not booked tickets for this opera but do have her wonderful performance in Don Carlo on DVD. I think she is great and hope that she and Lianna get well soon.
    Perhaps the ROH should have a method where you state your preferred performer when you book your ticket (one per performance) and you get a partial refund if they don't appear or a discount off your next booking.

  11. Mark S responded on 21 October 2013 at 10:52pm Reply

    I'm sorry. I was there. I'm sure that it was generous of Poplavskaya to "save" this show - as Kasper Holten put it, but really she shouldn't have. I really don't believe that she was actually "ready" - or if she was, then perhaps she should be looking at the Kostelnicka as her next new role. If she hadn't, I could have had my money back and avoided seeing this sorry farago.

    The singing at best is ordinary, Pappano struck me as off-form and the chorus was woolly, not together and had one of the worst evenings I've heard it have in years. Don't be misled by the reviews and buy seats: this is an Emperor's New Clothes of a production, unredeemed by the musical performance. Haroutounian won't be able to save this.

    • Mireille responded on 22 October 2013 at 10:50am

      I was there too-and you need to know the whole story. And yes she saved at her own expense-read my reactions to Mr. Kasper above. It's a scandalous way of treating artists!

  12. Thomas responded on 22 October 2013 at 5:15am Reply

    Montserrat Caballé, Antonietta Stella, Leyla Gencer, Renata Scotto, Maria CALLAS, Martina Arroyo ....... where are you gone ?! Come back soon , please !! .......do not abbandone us !! Save us !! AMEN .

  13. Mark Knowles responded on 22 October 2013 at 11:54am Reply

    Thomas, I'm quite sure all the great singers have gone the same way the respectful generous audiences have departed. You get what you deserve. Amen??

  14. John responded on 22 October 2013 at 2:52pm Reply

    I'm guessing that basically Haroutounian was the cover for Poplavskaya; but what do you do when the cover who is due to replace an ailing singer, also gets ill? This isn't a role which has a queue of sopranos ready to step into someone else's shoes. So good for Poplavskaya for stepping in to save the performance last evening. I know, I 'd rather have an underpar performer than not get to see the performance. And after all, most of us had booked knowing that Poplavskaya was due to sing. Let's be a bit more generous to the management and to the singer in this instance!

  15. Stephen Cutler responded on 22 October 2013 at 3:03pm Reply

    Perhaps the ROH would like the phone number of Angela Meade, who really can sing the part, having done it in French this year at Caramoor and in Italian last year in Vienna, and who finishes in Norma at the Met on the 28th.

  16. Tony Boyd-Williams responded on 22 October 2013 at 3:47pm Reply

    Last night (21 October ) Marina Poplavskaya gave an outstanding performance with her thrilling singing and acting. The entire performance was electrifying and the audience reception was warm and enthusiastic . with countless "Bravos ! " A truly marvellous evening at Covent Garden and (whist I do not always go by their remarks) -most of the critics I have read have awarded this production four stars. To quote one -" The Act III climax...is alone worth the price of a ticket ."Criticism of the ROH in this instance is most unkind .This is a highly intelligent and brilliant staging with a fantastic team of principals and comprimarios and last night Maestro Pappano,the orchestra and chorus were also on top form as were the splendid troupe of dancers .Kasper Holten's pre curtain speech was also warm and gracious.,and well received.. Meantime, one indeed hopes that Lianna will soon recover and that both these talented sopranos will continue to thrill audiences.

    • Alex responded on 23 October 2013 at 10:20am

      i truly wonder where they heard the 'countless bravos' because i certainly didn't... last night was a disgrace... both for the audience and the cast

  17. M P L Muresan responded on 23 October 2013 at 11:12am Reply

    Oh, "Alex", you non-philistine expert, you *arbiter elegantiarum*, you refined ear malgré soi, humour us please from up your high chair and explain why it was a disgrace? Surely you are capable of articulating your expert views using complete and logical sentences, considered evidence, and your tremendous wealth of expertise on this matter?

  18. Tony Boyd-Williams responded on 23 October 2013 at 12:03pm Reply

    Using a right to reply, I can only repeat there were indeed countless bravos.. These were from the Stalls circle area (where my wife and I were sitting ) and a great many seemed to be coming from other parts of the auditorium. hen there is such an ovation for each of the soloists, the chorus, the dancer s, the Maestro and the orchestra then -with the greatest of respect -we certainly have not witnessed "a disgrace" in my humble opinion Monday's fantastic performance certainly seemed to reflect the enthusiasm of the majority of critics,

  19. Robert responded on 23 October 2013 at 3:20pm Reply

    After the ghastliness of the entire thing - with Poplavskaya's performance being the absolute nadir - I just wish nobody had saved the show on Monday and we had all got our money back. I was certainly not overawed by Lianna Haroutounian's performance in Don Carlos, and I note from the reviews that she came a serious cropper in Act V of Vêpres on opening night. But SURELY she was better than what we heard from Maria Poplavskaya having so unexpectedly presented herself for the second performance?

    And as the work itself, there's one very good reason why Monday's was only the second ever performance of Les vêpres siciliennes at Covent Garden in the 158 years since its premiere: it is WEAK, and nothing that the gimmicky, cliché-laden production of Stefan Herheim achieved could disguise that fact.

    The ROH's 'hit rate' over the last decade when hauling out worthwhile non-repertory pieces such as this has been lamentable. With the sole exception of ‘Die tote Stadt’, what else has been revived and/or been revivable? I sadly wonder whether we shall ever get to hear something actually worth doing - Ermione, Lakme, La fiamma, L'incoronazione di Poppea, for example.

    • Mireille responded on 25 October 2013 at 11:55pm

      Monsieur, we were there and we an but agree, yet you do not know the conditions (ask orchestra members!)-second nights Helene wasn't ready to go nor did she have a choice or there was no show. A mistake and the entire production is indeed a mistake-a masonic ridden joke-and not needed in French (Palermo Sicily in French? like My Fair Lady in German, and they have it!). But I agree with you as the lack of research and taste a ROH is sadly a topic! (not that we in France do better because all is marketing, empty Ken&barbies with vocal robots and pepped up with drugs and now even microphones! Sad. Glad to see at least one person understood! Keep up the writing!

  20. In my opinion Poplavskaya has always been hit-and-miss, but her performance on Monday was unworthy of one of the world's major houses. One wonders how long the ROH's allegiance, to someone who is largely 'home grown' via the Young Artists Scheme, can be sustained. Her coloratura was all over the place, she was horribly flat in the earlier acts, and there were some truly dreadful top notes. I suppose we should be grateful she can act quite well, but that is not the main reason most of us go to the opera. I'm afraid I'm rapidly getting to the stage were I will be going out of my way to avoid her performances, though others have clearly got there already.

  21. Tony Boyd-Williams responded on 23 October 2013 at 5:34pm Reply

    Each to their own, but certainly the vast majority of Monday night's audience felt Marina Poplavskaya richly deserved the ovation she received when she took her solo bow.my wife and I were fortunate enough to be sitting near to the stage and it was clear that Marina was putting all she had into her performance .Apart from her splendid singing, her acting (and I have experienced operatic productions for over fifty years ) was fantastic.
    As for the opera itself? In his seminal work "The Complete Operas of Verdi ",that doyen of music critics Charles Osborne refers to "..so much excellent music ..." when he discusses this notable contribution of Verdi to the repertoire of the Paris Opera. Osborne also recalls the words of Boito : "it would take a long time to enumerate all the graces and the strength of this solemn opera, for one would have to stop and admire every piece".
    This is why the ROH must be applauded for staging such an imaginative and outstandingly theatrical /musical treat .Performances such as Monday night's plus last season's Robert Le Diable are encouraging countless newcomers to want to return to the world of opera and for that alone the production teams ,the casts and the ROH deserve a special "BRAVO! "

    • Mireille responded on 24 October 2013 at 5:29pm

      when in good and caring conditions Mme Poplavskaya can out-sing any of the present cast proposed-honestly...neither of these women are that good-where is the MEZZA VOCE...it's clear one is out in destroying but even the audience has to indulge in stupid combinations of a soprano acting and another singing from the wings? while they have the real Helene where hidden away at home? or are they waiting for the last moment to stress the woman to the most so her vocal cords burn out? Well, congratulation ROH whom ever made these lousy decisions must be a machine not a human being...you just lost another subscriber!

  22. So Poplavskaya will get the HD in the sorry state that she's in?? What a failureon ROH part. Get Haroutounian to sing the rest of the run and that's it. Poplavskaya can use some rest and vocal lessons meanwhile.

  23. So who is signing tonight???

  24. PetetheCheat responded on 24 October 2013 at 1:10pm Reply

    Wow, I actually read a review preferring Poplavskaya, even in such poor form, even by her (not particularly high) vocal standards. She could use some rest, though. She was clearly tired and not fully recovered from her illness. Is it fair to use sick and below-par singers ?

  25. Thank you Chris. Looking forward to hearing a new voice.

  26. PetetheCheat responded on 25 October 2013 at 11:41pm Reply

    She will have to improve during the next two performances as a kind of rehearsal for the HD on 4th November, but Popsy is probably pencilled in for that.

  27. Mr. Herheim does not know where volcano Etna is! To see Procida singing " o tu Palermo" in front of an Etna painting is silly.

  28. PetetheCheat responded on 2 November 2013 at 9:05pm Reply

    It seems that after her performance on 21st October, she relapsed and was too sick to do the HD or any other performances.

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