Instead, Hui He will spend November rehearsing in Milan for a new production at La Scala of Verdi's Aida directed and designed by Franco Zeffirelli and conducted by Riccardo Chailly. She will alternate with Violeta Urmana in the title role, with Roberto Alagna, Antonello Palombi and Yu Qiang Dai alternating as Radams. There will be 11 performances of the production from December 7 — the traditional opening of La Scala's season (at which Urmana, as the bigger star, will sing) — through January 12.
Replacing Hui He in Washington will be soprano Tatiana Borodina, who originated the role of Cio-Cio-San in this staging by director Mariusz Trelinski when it was first presented at the Teatr Wielki-National Opera in Warsaw. "I'm disappointed that Ms. He is not fulfilling her commitment to Washington National Opera," said company general director Plšcido Domingo in a statement yesterday, "[but] of course, we are happy that Tatiana Borodina was available at such short notice and that we can introduce this wonderful soprano to the American audience."
Domingo and Eugene Kohn will share conducting duties on this production, which Washington National Opera first presented in 2001 in Trelinski's US directing debut. Borodina alternates with Xiu Wei Sun as Cio-Cio-San, with Arturo Chac‹n-Cruz and Carlo Ventre sharing the role of Lt. Pinkerton, Elizabeth Batton and Margaret Thompson as Suzuki, Luca Salsi and Scott Hendricks as Sharpless and tenors Anthony Laciura and Robert Baker as Goro. There will be nine performances of the opera November 4-19 at the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington, DC.
For more information on this and other Washington National Opera productions, visit www.dc-opera.org.