Could Ariodante, Handel's "Scottish opera," be suffering similar misfortune?
Harpsichordist/conductor Christophe Rousset and his band, Les Talens Lyriques, just finished a five-performance run of the work (which is set in medieval Scotland) at the Th_ê¢tre des Champs-Elys_es in Paris last week. By the time Ariodante arrives in London tonight and in Madrid on Thursday (March 29) for concert performances, it will have lost three of the seven cast members originally announced.
Not long before the Paris run began, baritone Ildebrando D'Arcangelo pulled out of the role of the King of Scotland and soprano Sandrine Piau withdrew from the part of the lady-in-waiting, Dalinda; they were replaced, respectively, by Olivier Lalouette and JaêŠl Azzaretti.
Then, yesterday, the Barbican Centre sent out a notice to ticketholders saying that Angelika Kirchschlager, the star mezzo who was to sing the titular hero, had contracted laryngitis and would be replaced by Caitlin Hulcup, a young lyric mezzo from Australia. (Kirchschlager did perform the entire Paris run, which ended on March 22.)
Still remaining (as of press time) from the originally announced cast are soprano Danielle de Niese as the Scottish princess Ginevra, mezzo Vivica Genaux as the villainous duke Polinesso, tenor Topi Lehtipuu as Ariodante's brother Lurcanio, and tenor Nicholas Maire as the servant Odoardo.
And even if good health holds, the cast changes aren't over. De Niese will not be singing Ginevra in Madrid; the role will be taken by Sabina Pu_rtolas.