In order to make his first Met appearances, though, Kaiser had to withdraw from Janšcek's Jenufa at Los Angeles Opera, where he was to make his company debut as Steva opposite Karita Mattila. He was released from his L.A. contract by special request of Plšcido Domingo, conductor of the Met production and L.A. Opera's general director, in order to do the Met Romeos in Villaz‹n's place.
A Montreal native who turns 30 in just a few days, Kaiser (who began his career as a baritone) was a winner of Domingo's own Operalia competition in 2005 and reached the finals of the Met's National Council Auditions that same year. He played Tamino in actor/filmmaker Kenneth Branagh's recent movie version of Mozart's Magic Flute, and he takes the same role in the Met's popular Julie Taymor staging of the opera for four performances in November.
Opera fans who can't make it to the Met to hear Kaiser this evening can listen in online: the company is offering a free live audio stream of the entire performance on its website, beginning at 7:30 p.m. To listen, go to www.metopera.org and click on the Real Player "Listen Live" box at the lower left of the homepage.
Kaiser gives two additional performances in Gounod's Rom_o et Juliette at the Met on October 6 and 11.