Soprano Piia Komsi, Ailing, Withdraws from Salonen's Wing on Wing with LA Phil

Classic Arts News   Soprano Piia Komsi, Ailing, Withdraws from Salonen's Wing on Wing with LA Phil
One of the treats in the Los Angeles Philharmonic's programming for the next month — both in the orchestra's current "Sibelius Unbound" festival at home and during its residencies in London and Paris early next month — is Wing on Wing. LA Phil music director Esa-Pekka Salonen composed the work in honor of his orchestra's spectacular new home, Walt Disney Concert Hall; it features wordless parts for two sopranos, parts written especially for the twin sisters Anu and Piia Komsi, both accomplished coloraturas who specialize in contemporary music.

Unfortunately, Piia Komsi won't be joining her sister this time around: the Philharmonic announced yesterday that she has withdrawn from this weekend's performances in Los Angeles as well as concerts at the Barbican Centre in London on November 1 and the Salle Pleyel in Paris on November 6.

Stepping in for the Disney Hall concerts will be soprano Stacey Tappan; performing with Anu Komsi in London and Paris will be Cyndia Sieden, whose singing of the stratospheric role of Ariel in Thomas Ads's opera The Tempest has astounded critics and audiences in London and Santa Fe.

While the Philharmonic's announcement said only that Piia Komsi has withdrawn "due to illness," it seems likely that she is still suffering the aftereffects of a severe bout of appendicitis this summer. She had been set to play the Cheshire Cat in the world premiere production of Unsuk Chin's opera Alice in Wonderland under the baton of Kent Nagano in Munich, but she fell ill just before opening night and spent the run in the hospital. She later withdrew from her other main engagement of the summer, a September 1 performance of Morton Feldman's Neither at the Ostrava Music Festival in the Czech Republic.

According to a spokesperson for the Bavarian State Opera, Piia Komsi is still scheduled to sing in next month's revival of Alice in Wonderland, with performances on November 15, 17, 20 and 23.

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