News emerged earlier today that Plácido Domingo needs surgery which will keep him out of action for most if not all of the rest of the season.
The LA Times says he has already undergone a procedure in Tokyo after suffering abdominal pain, and is travelling to New York for a further operation. It's not clear how serious the problem is, but then with a patient Plácido's age (69), any surgical procedure is serious, so we have to hope all goes well.
Kurt Streit, who was originally scheduled for two dates only, will take Plácido's place on the remaining five nights. The Royal Opera House, who I understand only found out about it late today, the same as everyone else, will contact ticket buyers shortly. A press release issued at 8pm this evening says
"Although it is not customary Royal Opera House policy, in recognition of the withdrawal of such an exceptional artist in a rarely-performed opera, we will be contacting all ticket holders with details of a 20% credit note".
Plácido's dates sold out instantly; Kurt Streit's had been selling slowly, so it's fair to assume most of those with Plácido tickets bought them for one reason only. 20% credit doesn't sound like much, but it's hard to see what else they could do in the circumstances, and it's certainly more generous than the big fat zero usually on offer when stars cancel.
They haven't commented on Friday night's planned Plácido Domingo in Conversation. But I think unless they can manage a video link to his hospital bedside (and Plácido is the one singer you wouldn't put it past to try) it's fair to assume it's off.
And although his spokesman hopes he'll only be off for six weeks, doubt must be cast over his Simon Boccanegra later in the season too.
More news tomorrow, I hope.
Meanwhile, I can't offer Plácido any medical advice, but I do know a good clown doctor.