"Ah! Non abbiamo il soprano!" Backstage at the Vienna State Opera. Photo: commons.wikimedia.org.

"Ah! Non abbiamo il soprano!"

Jenna Simeonov

Opera fans have likely heard by now about star soprano Angela Gheorghiu’s late entrance at a recent performance of Tosca at the Vienna State Opera, following Jonas Kaufmann’s encore of “E lucevan le stelle”. After the tenor finishes his second singing of the aria, the Tosca-is-arriving-on-stage music happens with great energy; as the waiting became uncomfortable, Kaufmann broke the tension with a joke, recitative-style, “Ah! Non abbiamo il soprano!” When Gheorghiu still didn’t appear, Kaufmann switched to German to beg the audience’s patience, while what I’m sure was a worst-nightmare moment indeed for stage management.

Video by Tikilin2010.

Gheorghiu finally made it onstage, and the show went on. The soprano is not immune to accusations of diva-like behaviour, and she’s apparently not a huge fan of the practice of an aria encore mid-show. A representative from the opera house in Vienna says that her late entrance didn’t appear to be a purposeful hissy fit. Who knows? Maybe she took the second round of “E lucevan” to take an extra pee break, and made a poor estimate of time.

In interesting timing, Gheorghiu just announced that she would be cancelling her recital at London’s Royal Festival Hall, which was scheduled for April 25th. Apparently, the soprano is ill, and her doctor has prescribed her some vocal rest. The concert hasn’t yet been rescheduled, but hopefully that will change.

By the way, did you hear? Kathleen Battle is finally returning to The Metropolitan Opera after a 22 year “hiatus”.

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