Coming on stage to announce Elina Garanca's last-minute no-show (greeted by boos) at his Vienna State Opera Gala, Ioan Holender was characteristically frank. "Fortunately, these "illnesses" don't usually last long, " he said pointedly, highlighting the curious facts that Garanca was well enough to appear the previous night in Eisenstadt (just outside Vienna), and was still scheduled for Carmen in Valencia this week.
Evidently, Garanca's late withdrawal from Vienna's Carmen last month still rankles - on both sides.
After a heart operation forced conductor Mariss Jansons to pull out a few weeks before the Carmen premiere, it's rumoured the "exhaustion" which excused Garanca coincided with Vienna's failure to install her husband Karel Mark Chichon as Jansons' replacement. Although Chichon's credentials are in no doubt - he has conducted in Vienna before and is booked for further dates in future - the job went instead to Andris Nelsons.