The production was conceived by general director Christopher Mattaliano, but assistant director Casey Stangl took over the staging after Mattaliano was diagnosed with an intestinal tumor last month, according to the Salem Statesman Journal. The tumor has since proved to be malignant.
Surgery was planned at one point, but Mattaliano has opted to be treated with medication, allowing him to maintain some involvement in the production. "I'm now in more of a second chair at this point," Stangl told the Statesman Journal. "I just looked at it from the beginning as trying to fulfill his vision of the production."
"I think in a situation like this, everyone says, 'Let's make this the best it can be,'" she added.
Soprano Pamela South, who is married to Mattaliano, was scheduled to star in the production, but she has withdrawn in order to spend time with Mattaliano, and has been replaced with soprano Nancy Allen Lundy.
The Journey to Reims was premiered in 1825 to celebrate the restoration of the Bourbons to the French throne, and was not performed again until 1984, when scholars reassembled the score.