The Italian soprano is being admirably frank about her reason for pulling out of the production: she finds the Russian language too difficult. In a statement released today by her manager and Lyric Opera, she said, "For many years I have been looking forward both to making my Lyric debut as well as my role debut as Tatiana in this beloved opera. However, after studying for more than a year, the language, alphabet, and pronunciation continue to elude my grasp. To hope for a 'miracle' can only put the production at risk. Therefore, the only 'miracle' for which I truly hope is that Lyric Opera will generously re-invite me in the near future. I deeply appreciate Lyric Opera of Chicago and the public for its understanding."
To take over the role, Lyric Opera has turned to a native speaker of Russian — and an alumna of the company's own Ryan Opera Center: Dina Kuznetsova.
Among the Russian-American soprano's recent successes have been Gilda in Rigoletto and the title role in Janšcek's The Cunning Little Vixen at Lyric Opera, Musetta in La Bohme at San Francisco Opera (where she sings Pamina in Die Zauberfl‹te this fall), Violetta in La traviata at Boston Lyric Opera and Opera Pacific in southern California, Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi (opposite Bryn Terfel) at the Royal Opera/Covent Garden, and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni (opposite Ren_ Pape and under Daniel Barenboim) at the Deutsche Oper Berlin.
Lyric Opera of Chicago's Eugene Onegin — with Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Mariusz Kwiecien sharing the title role, Frank Lopardo as Lensky, Nino Surguladze as Olga and Vitalij Kowaljow as Prince Gremin (both in their company debuts) — runs for ten performances between March 1 and 30. Lyric Opera music director Andrew Davis conducts the same Robert Carsen production seen this past season at the Metropolitan Opera House and in high-definition broadcasts to movie theaters in North America, Europe and Japan. More information is available at www.lyricopera.org.