Vivica Genaux pulls out of ‘Carmen’
by Gary Black (via Daily News Miner) – Vivica Genaux, the internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano opera star who grew up in Fairbanks, has canceled her performance in Opera Fairbanks’ upcoming production of “Carmen” because of an unforeseen medical issue.
Opera Fairbanks made the announcement this weekend after Genaux’s New York agent, Robert Lombardo, contacted the opera’s board of directors saying Genaux would be recuperating from a medical procedure at the same time “Carmen” will be staged in Fairbanks, July 11 and 13.
“The date was chosen by her physician and a number of other engagements will be affected also,” the statement reads. “Vivica will be back with Opera Fairbanks, her home company, on another occasion as her schedule permits.”
Lombardo did not say what the medical procedure was.
“Vivica is huge in the opera world and even more huge in Alaska,” said Herta Prechtel, vice president of Opera Fairbanks’ board of directors. “The health of Vivica must come first. We hope our audience understands the extremely difficult circumstance. Vivica has promised to be back with Opera Fairbanks with what we can plan in the future.”
Replacing Genaux will be mezzo-soprano Patricia Risley, who regularly performs with major opera companies throughout North America and Europe and with the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Risley has a distinguished career in the opera world, where she has performed roles in “Don Carlo,” “Don Giovanni,” “The Marriage of Figaro,” “Carmen” and “The Barber of Seville,” among other noted operas.
“We have done everything possible to bring on a great performer from the Met, and the performance won’t suffer,” Prechtel said.
Genaux’s cancellation came as a surprise for Opera Fairbanks, as it was Genaux herself who suggested “Carmen” with which she would have made her North American debut in the title role.
“We were so looking forward to Vivica returning to her home town,” said Theresa Reed, president of Opera Fairbanks. “While we’re disappointed that Vivica will not be with us this year, we are so thrilled to hear that our new lead singer will be another world renowned opera superstar. Patricia Risley will compliment our cast quite nicely.”
The performances of “Carmen” is still planned for July 11 and 13 at Hering Auditorium, with Gregory Buchalter of the Metropolitan Opera directing. Other cast members include Viktor Antipenko as Don Jose; Trevor Scheunemann as Escamillo; Valeria Lari as Mercedes; Joseph Perron as Morales and Tess Altivaro as Frasquita. Micaela will be played by Anchorage singer Anastasia Jamieson. David Miller of Juneau will sing the role of Zuniga, and Emerson Eads and Scott Raneri of Fairbanks will perform as Remendado and Dancairo, respectively.
Genaux, who was born and raised in Fairbanks, has performed with many major U.S. opera companies, including the Metropolitan Opera and the San Francisco, Dallas, Seattle, San Diego, Pittsburgh and Minnesota operas. Internationally, she has performed with the opera houses of Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Amsterdam, Dresden, Munich, Montreal, Tel Aviv, Verona, Santiago and Perth, Australia.
Locally, the board of Opera Fairbanks is encouraging Fairbanks residents to submit well wishes and cards to any outlet selling tickets for “Carmen,” including If Only … A Fine Store, Arctic Traveler’s Gift Shop, In My Elements and Team Cutters.