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  • Cast Change: Dmytro Popov to sing role of Rodolfo in La bohème on 10 January

Cast Change: Dmytro Popov to sing role of Rodolfo in La bohème on 10 January

Ukrainian tenor to replace Rolando Villazón.

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

10 January 2013 at 2.00pm | 28 Comments

Mexican tenor Rolando Villazón has had to withdraw from singing the role of Rodolfo in La bohème tonight (Thursday 10 January), as he is still suffering from acute bronchitis. The role will be sung by Ukrainian tenor Dmytro Popov.

As tonight sees the opera being filmed for the as live cinema broadcast on 15 January, Dmytro will therefore appear as Rodolfo for this cinecast.

Dmytro made his role debut with The Royal Opera earlier this month. He made his debut with the Company in 2011 as Ivan Sergeyevich Lïkov (The Tsar’s Bride).  Previous roles include Macduff (Macbeth) in Lyons, Bogdane Sobinin (A Life for the Tsar) in Montpellier, and Cavaradossi (Tosca) and Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly) for Deutsche Oper Berlin. He is also engaged to sing the role of Rodolfo with the Company on 18 January. He is engaged to sing the role of Rodolfo with The Royal Opera on 18 January, and sang Rodolfo for the Company on 3, 5 and 7 January this Season.


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

10 January 2013 at 2.00pm

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged cast change, Dmytro Popov, rolando villazon

This article has 28 comments

  1. am well gutted as was looking forward to seeing rolando next tuesday in the cinema, but i hope he recovers for his future performances.

  2. Tricia Chacon responded on 11 January 2013 at 11:00am Reply

    Massive disappointment as I've waited 7 years for Villazón to return to ROH and sing Rodolfo and been looking forward to last night for 7 months. His very first note turned me to jelly back in 2005. But Dmytro Popov was terrific, and the production wonderful. Best wishes for Rolando and please come back sooner next time.

  3. John responded on 11 January 2013 at 2:06pm Reply

    Are there any plans for Rolando to return in the future? I'm very disappointed to have missed him this time.

  4. Sabina Barac responded on 11 January 2013 at 11:11pm Reply

    I listened to Rolando speaking about his passion for singing after his operation which was extremely moving and really wanted to hear him singing again.
    I hope he recovers soon and comes back to sing at ROH.

  5. Oliver Cleaver responded on 15 January 2013 at 11:08am Reply

    Very disappointed, ROH seems to be presenting so many performers this season I have never heard of. I had paid to see the cinema showing tonight (£33 per ticket) but only realised there was a cast change when browsing the ROH site today. Should not cinema-goers be informed about major cast changes in the same way that those with tickets to the Opera House are?

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 15 January 2013 at 11:41am

      Hi Oliver,

      Thanks for your comment. Where possible we do endeavor to let audiences know about cast changes and these are - where possible - communicated via and Twitter (


      Online Content Producer

  6. Much as I would have loved to see Rolando in this performance I have to say that Dymtro was superb. Such emotion in his acting and in his voice. He has a great future I think.

  7. E Sabattier responded on 15 January 2013 at 11:09pm Reply

    Just returning from Greenwich Picture House. I cannot comment on what Mr Villazón's performance would have been, however I was extremely impressed by Dmytro Popov. I have even preferred the joint performance by Kovalevska and Popov to that by Gheorghiu and Alagna on 19 June 2012 at the ROH. More emotion. Is it because I could see Kovalevska's tears? Opera experts will tell if there is more than that...Thanks in any case to all those who make these live retransmissions possible. Was with my 12-y daughter and 68-y mother and we all enjoyed the performance thoroughly, as well as the 3 films. Well done!

  8. Marion Adler responded on 15 January 2013 at 11:10pm Reply

    Just home from seeing this on-screen in Brighton - brilliant new cinema at the Komedia and only £15 for a seat. My disappointment at Villazon's non-appearance was shortlived - after a slightly anxious start, Dmytor Popov was superb in this role, lovely chemistry with Mimi, well-acted and a truly great voice, lovely warm, flexible singing. I also now think Villazon might have looked a bit aged next to the youthful bohemians who also sang - at least in the screened close-ups! I hope Popov comes back to the UK to sing more opera (or anything) for us, soon. I've seen Boheme many times - this ticked all the boxes. Those with tickets for the 18th - you will not be disappointed!

  9. Margaret Pinder responded on 15 January 2013 at 11:13pm Reply

    Saw this at the cinema this evening and, although I too was disappointed Rolando Villazon was not singing, Dmytro Popov was a wonderful Rodolfo along side a uniformly strong cast. He was engaging and charming and the tenderness between him and Mimi was utterly believable, without which the whole opera simply fails to convince. A fine vocal performance from a young tenor who will have made hisn career this evening. If anyoen stayed away because of the cast change, they missed a very special evening.

  10. Fiona responded on 15 January 2013 at 11:37pm Reply

    Saw La Boheme as a film with Rollando Villazon which was very passionate. Dmytro Popov's Rodolfo was quite different and very sensitive. You can't compare the two.
    I have seen La Boheme many times but have never been as moved as I was tonight by Popov. Wonderful.

  11. William McDines responded on 16 January 2013 at 10:20am Reply

    Went to the steaming of La Boheme last night.
    Ever so slightly disappointing about Rolando (wishing him a speedy recovery . Mr Popov did the role proud
    a little nervous at the start but he warmed to it.
    Camera work and sound excellent.
    Nice to see the ROH embracing 21st century technology for 19th century entertainment.
    The rest of the cast and crew/orchestra all were magnificent, i look forward to my next visit !

  12. I saw this production last night and it was superb. Dmytro Popov was a wonderful Rodolfo, having a very lyrical voice, his interpretation was sensative and beguiling. The whole cast was superb especially Maija Kovalevska and Stefania Dovhan. The fact that Rolando Villazon was unable to sing did not spoil the evening for me in any way.

  13. Angela responded on 16 January 2013 at 11:49am Reply

    Thank you , thank you. We are deprived in the far South West of England of world class performances and despite having to travel a distance, it was such a priviledge to realise a dream, to see a performance from the ROH.Fantastic, More please!

  14. James Loughnane responded on 16 January 2013 at 11:56am Reply

    Saw the production in Killarney, Ireland last night. Popov and all the cast were terrific. Tears were shed.
    He need not have feared for his high note.

  15. David Noble responded on 16 January 2013 at 12:58pm Reply

    Magnificent Boheme in the cinema perhaps last evening and arguably the best of several I have seen. Shame about the surtitles in cineworld, perhaps more so for first timers but for those lucky enough to know the opera it did not detract from a great experience. We look forward to more of Popov! Just out of interest, why do you call it "live" when it was not?

  16. Daniel Hicks responded on 16 January 2013 at 2:28pm Reply

    I had the huge privilege of seeing the ROH production of Boheme on screen at a local cinema last night - what a performance!I cannot praise it enough - nothing disappointed not even the absence of Villazon .His understudy Dmytro Popov played a magnificent Rodolfo - he deserves recognition of the highest order.Only one thing could surpass last night's performance and that would be to see it on Christmas Eve- one day perhaps.....................

  17. Emma responded on 16 January 2013 at 2:29pm Reply

    Saw this in Sidmouth last night - what a treat to be able to see Opera House productions. Popov was certainly the right age but he did need to warm up a bit! But, I still cried at the end. It is a fabulous production but is showing its age a bit. I thought the Met production that was shown live last year was much fresher. It also made sense of all those children and drummers rushing around while here they seemed a little jammed in.

  18. Ricardo responded on 16 January 2013 at 3:38pm Reply

    I am a great fan of Rolando Villazon and was disappointed when he had to withdraw from the ROH,S latest production of La Boheme. However this was shortlived when Dmytro Pavlov started to sing afraid of the "High Note" rubbish this was hit wih all the security that was required. What a magnificent youg tenor and what an exposure with last nights cinema relay.

  19. Frederick responded on 16 January 2013 at 5:16pm Reply

    I saw the performance live yesterday at a Madrid cinema. It is all superlatives for this production!
    In spite of the Villazón "disappointment" all members of the cast were great: they sang well, they acted well, they interacted well. The mood swings were perfect. The sentimental parts were moving but never mushy. And the young cast added credibility to this la bohème! (It is hard to swallow love at firts sight or the shenanigans of the artists when they look well over 50). The sets, the lighting, the stage direction and the costumes were fantastic. Bear in mind the first opera I ever saw was la Bohème at Covent Garden in 1977 and the original production has not aged one bit. On the contrary, it is an unsurpassed classic. (OK, I am surprised that after all these years nobody has pointed out how un-French it is that they should play some sort of improvised cricket with a fireplace shovel and bread pieces!) The camera movements were so attentive and considerate, with a good balance between emotional close-ups, full set compositions, highlighting groups when it mattered. And the three introductions were just right: Pappano said enough to put us in the right mood, never patronising, never too clever, just distilling his passion for this opera and sharing it with us. The behind the scenes films achieved their goal: to show it is hard work, to show it is team work, and to show the commitment of every single member of the cast (props, singers, conductor etc). It also conveyed a sense of companionship and good humour which might be true or not... but in a world of conceited Divas and Divos, these are values to uphold. My only very minor criticism: the children were less enthusiastic than usual with the appearance of the toy seller (maybe a sad reflection on how a wooden horse or a doll can no longer compete with computer games). I left elated, and believe me, so did the rest of the audience. Thank you ROH!

  20. rosalynyoung responded on 16 January 2013 at 5:25pm Reply

    Excellent performance - however this is not a live streaming - It was pre recorded on the 10th and then shownn to audiences ont he 15th! Perhaps the Opera House and Cinemas should be a little clearer about this

  21. jen responded on 17 January 2013 at 9:36pm Reply

    I first saw this production back in 1976 (José Carreras as Rodolfo). I've seen other productions of Boheme, live and on film/TV. The 'live' relay on Tuesday was probably the best of all. Popov was magnificent, not just his singing but his tenderness, his despair - he didn't sing the part, he lived it. It was a heartbreaking performance, truly unforgettable. Marcello, Schaunard ( and Colline were also brilliant. the latter two often seem slight, unimportant characters, but the singers gave them real dramatic worth and sang superbly to make it a truly ensemble piece. I can't get out of my head David Bižić’s "è spirata' when he realises Mimi is dead: the four young men are helpless in the face of untimely death.
    I could write a great deal more, praising Mimi and Musetta, but the superlatives would get repetitive. I wish Villazon a speedy recovery, but have to say that, having already heard him sing the role of Rodolfo, I don't think he is anywhere near as right for the role as Popov showed himself.

  22. Besnard responded on 18 January 2013 at 7:00am Reply

    We watch this superb performance in a cinema near Rennes (Brittany). It was advertised as a live show but we were disappointed to learn afterwards that it was pre-recorded on the 10th. Did that apply to the opera itself or just to the comments before and between tthe four acts.
    I would be grateful for further explanations.

    • Lottie Butler (Former Assistant Content Producer (News and Social Media)) responded on 18 January 2013 at 12:52pm

      Glad to hear you enjoyed the performance. Although the majority of our cinema relays are live on the night, due to scheduling some have to be shown as “delayed live”. The performance is still relayed in full without cuts or edits, just at a later time. The comments and tweets that appeared on screen were received live on the night. I hope that answers your query,


  23. Ruth Mackay responded on 22 January 2013 at 9:24pm Reply

    I was at the ROH and saw the performance on 3rd January and was gutted when Rolando pulled out. Was not impressed with Popov at that perormance but decided to watch the "movie" on the 15th too to get a better view. Oh, how Popov had improved since the 3rd - he seemed to have grown and relaxed into the role - more passion, more natural acting, better singing - he looked so happy at his curtain call too - much happier than his earlier performance.
    I wish him well in the future - he will go far I am sure!
    Just hope Rolando finds his voice again soon - I so much want to see him live!!

  24. Deanne responded on 6 March 2013 at 11:06pm Reply

    I cannot understand what all the fuss is about "live". The production is filmed live. Good enough for me. I saw it in Brisbane (Australia) yesterday and consider this to be the best production of La Boheme I have seen. I was disappointed to see Popov substituted for Villazon. But he was excellent as were all the cast.

  25. Piquemal responded on 5 February 2015 at 7:08pm Reply

    Popov est pour moi une révélation.Il a tout pour satisfaire aux exigences du rôle, voix, interprétation, jeunesse.Un enchantement,à quand une rediffusion et surtout un dvd serait une véritable aubaine.

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