In a statement from his management released via the company yesterday, Mattei said that his wife is ill and he cannot be away from her and their children for the extended period required by an overseas opera production.
Replacing Mattei as Ford, the jealous husband in Verdi's Shakespearean comedy, is Boaz Daniel, who will be making his Lyric Opera debut. The young Israeli is one of the house baritones at the Vienna State Opera, where he has sung roles ranging from Mozart's Count Almaviva and Masetto to Puccini's Marcello and Sharpless to Wagner's Gunther and Kurwenal (in Tristan). He made his U.S. debut in that last role at San Francisco Opera in 2006.
Lyric Opera has announced a second withdrawal from Falstaff as well — that of contralto Bernadette Manca di Nissa, who recently decided to retire. Taking her place as Mistress Quickly is Meredith Arwady, a 28-year-old contralto and currently a third-year member of Lyric Opera's Ryan Opera Center. Earlier this year Arwady won a $10,000 Richard Tucker Career Grant; next April she will give solo recitals sponsored by the Marilyn Horne Foundation in Chicago and New York.
Joining Daniel and Arwady in Falstaff will be soprano Veronica Villarroel as Alice Ford, soprano Stacy Tappan as Nannetta and tenor Bryan Griffin as Fenton; baritone Ambrogio Maestri makes his house debut in the title role. Olivier Tambosi directs the production, and Lyric Opera music director Andrew Davis conducts the nine performances from Jan. 28 to Feb. 23. Information and tickets are available at www.lyricopera.org.