Mein lieber Schwan! Well! C´est finis! Le Swan has parted but much earlier as anticipated!
Roberto Alagna has quitted his Bayreuth “Lohengrin” contract due to the incomplete study of the score text! Yes! We are not making it up! It is entirely true. The website of the Bayreuth Festival put out a short announcement stating that:
“Mr Alagna had to cancel the new production of Lohengrin, as he was not able to fully memorise the text, due to the (his) overload”.
This passage is quite interesting, since in German the word “Überlastung” i.e. overload, can mean lots of work or either physical, emotional or otherwise overload. The reporter from German newspaper “DIE WELT”, Mr Manuel Brug, gave a precise and a poignant comment about Mr Alagna´s decision, which Opera View would almost consider being its own:
“That’s certainly the most unprofessional thing that this star for years has afforded himself to do in this fritted away business. It is unfair not only towards the institution but also towards the colleagues who have already rehearsed and learned their roles in time.”
Well! As much has already touched Mr Alagna´s voice, it is still of a great shape, even though one could argue about its beauty. He is very active in dramatic French repertoire and on numerous concerts stages around the world, looking attractive and with tanti passioni. So it is indeed quite possible, that the overload mentioned above, is a direct result of Alagna´s numerous stage, concerts and recording engagements around the world.
One way or the other it is certainly better Mr Alagna did cancel the production, as it would have been even more shameful, and not only to him, if he would go on stage and just embarrass himself. What is more irritating is, that knowing about his temperament and history of just walking out of the performance, Bayreuth´s artistic management didn´t take any precautions to have a second cast or at least an equivalent cover.
Alagna´s photo and his name were immediately removed for the official Bayreuth Festival site, and considering less than a month to go, to find a suitable cast for Lohengrin, presents a real challenge. Of course, the Festival will manage to find another Lohengrin. The question that remains is about casting policies in Bayreuth and at most about the responsibility of the artist towards his profession. Maybe it is about time to just lay back and enjoy life, Mr Alagna? Or, maybe we should never aks?