Netrebko Cancels Tuscan Sun Appearance at Last Minute, and Bartoli Steps In

Classic Arts News   Netrebko Cancels Tuscan Sun Appearance at Last Minute, and Bartoli Steps In
Anna Netrebko, still suffering from laryngitis, has cancelled her appearance tonight at the Tuscan Sun Festival in Cortona, Italy. She had been scheduled to join countertenor Andreas Scholl and the Venice Baroque Orchestra for Pergolesi's Stabat Mater — the same program and personnel as the Salzburg Festival concerts from which she withdrew last week.

At some point yesterday, Tuscan Sun Festival organizers quietly replaced the announced program on the event's website with a new program — one featuring the VBO, Scholl and superstar mezzo Cecilia Bartoli. (Even for the Tuscan Sun Festival, whose founder and general director is Barrett Wissman, the powerful chairman of the IMG Artists management agency, securing Bartoli as a last-minute replacement must be considered a coup.)

Tonight's program no longer includes the Pergolesi, presumably because there is little time for Bartoli and Scholl to rehearse the work's numerous duet movements. Instead, the VBO will play three of Vivaldi's lesser-known works for strings, Scholl will perform a virtuoso Vivaldi secular cantata and two Handel opera arias, and Bartoli will sing five arias from Handel's allegorical oratorio Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno ("The Triumph of Time and Enlightenment"), in which she has sung the role of Piacere (Pleasure) on stage several times in recent years.

There was no announcement of Netrebko's absence and Bartoli's substitution on the Tuscan Sun Festival's website, though the Italian news agency ANSA did report the news yesterday afternoon.

As of this writing, Netrebko evidently still intends to proceed as planned with her stadium tour of Germany beginning this Saturday, August 18. The website of the tour promoter, DEAG, currently lists her as appearing with three different tenors for the four concerts; her announced partner for the tour (and frequent onstage collaborator), Rolando Villaz‹n, withdrew last week due to illness.

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