"My husband Roberto is singing two major roles at the Metropolitan Opera. I asked Lyric Opera to let me go to New York for two days to be with him and they said 'no.' But I needed to be by Roberto's side at this very important moment. I have sung Bohme hundreds of times, and thought missing a few rehearsals wouldn't be a tragedy. It was impossible to do the costume fitting at the same time I was in New York.
"Coming back from New York, I caught a cold — a most unfortunate coincidence. I saw the company doctor when I returned and he prescribed antibiotics. I just wanted to get well. My colleagues knew about this and were supportive. Of course, I'm very sad that this has happened as I was very eager to sing in Chicago."
Alagna is currently singing Romeo in Gounod's Rom_o et Juliette, which opened this past Tuesday, September 25. According to the statement issued by Lyric Opera, Gheorghiu's trip to New York to attend that performance meant that she missed both of the Bohme staging rehearsals with orchestra. (The production, though it uses existing sets, features new stage direction by retired soprano Renata Scotto.) Alagna begins his performances as Pinkerton in the Met's Madama Butterfly on October 8.