This should have been a big week for her. On Tuesday and Wednesday (June 5-6), she was to have given the Midwest premiere of Jake Heggie's one-act opera To Hell and Back, with Broadway diva Patti LuPone and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, at the Ravinia Festival just north of Chicago. The work was commissioned by the PBO and written for Bayrakdarian and LuPone.
Filling in at Ravinia was young soprano Marnie Breckenridge, whom the Chicago Sun-Times described as "ethereal ... Her voice shone as she sang of the wildflowers she had gathered for her wedding bouquet."
Tonight Bayrakdarian was to join nine other Canadian singers, including sopranos Adrianne Pieczonka and Sondra Radvanovsky, tenor Richard Margison and baritone Russell Braun, for "Luna," an gala evening of opera arias and ensembles planned as one of the highlights of the inaugural Luminato festival in Toronto.
As happens every so often in the opera world, one singer's illness is another's big opportunity: filling in for Bayrakdarian tonight will be Marianne Fiset, who just carried off five prizes last week at the Concours international musical de Montr_al.