The substitution has been made at the request of tenor Marcelo êlvarez, who was to have sung Hoffmann but has decided to withdraw the role from his repertoire.
Which is not to say that he is withdrawing from his Met appearances — he will be seen in Carmen, singing his first Don Jos_s in the house. Starring opposite êlvarez will be mezzo Olga Borodina, who has won considerable praise for her performances of the title role at the Met in the 2000-01 and 2004-05 seasons. (Her cover, Nancy Fabiola Herrera, will sing one performance.) Soprano Krassimira Stoyanova will take the role of MicaêŠla, also for the first time with the company.
Emmanuel Villaume, the music director for opera and orchestra at Spoleto Festival USA, will conduct the eight performances of Carmen from February 4 through March 1. The production will be Franco Zeffirelli's 1996 staging, with choreography by flamenco star Mar‹a Ben‹tez.
"We want to ensure that the world's greatest singers are performing at the Met in roles that suit them best," said Met general manager Peter Gelb in today's statement. "While this change affects previously announced plans, we are delighted that Met audiences will get to hear Marcelo êlvarez sing Don Jos_ for the first time and that Olga Borodina will perform one of her signature roles."