Covent Garden isn't the only venue to suffer from Anna Netrebko's tardy Faust cancellations. I was a little surprised that the ROH didn't contract Angela Gheorghiu to fill at least a couple of the holes - she is after all the only soprano who knows the production.
But it now seems Angela will get the chance to wield her jewels after all.
Affirming that the reasons were exclusively musical and technical, she explained: "Contracts were signed a long time ago, before my voice and, as a result, my repertoire began to change. I decided that Faust doesn't fit - the moment has passed. I'm now facing heavier roles. I just sang Puccini's Manon Lescaut and I'll soon start preparing for Verdi's Macbeth. Faust right now? No way."
The tardy timing of the announcement is not addressed, but in the interview she goes on to explain the detailed and extensive work she recently did on Manon Lescaut in Rome with its conductor, Riccardo Muti. Could Muti's influence have assisted her decision?
"Anna Netrebko has regretfully withdrawn from the role of Marguerite in Faust with The Royal Opera in April 2014. This was to have been her debut in the role.
Anna Netrebko has asked us to forward the following: ‘I am so sorry to have to withdraw from the role of Marguerite in Faust. After much consideration and intensive preparation, I have come to the conclusion that the role is not right for me. I had been very much looking forward to making my debut in this role at the Royal Opera House and following it with further performances in Vienna and Baden-Baden. Unfortunately, I must now withdraw from all these productions. I am very sad to be disappointing my fans in London, Vienna and Baden-Baden and hope they will understand the difficult decision that I have had to make. However, I am very much looking forward to returning to The Royal Opera to perform with the Company again in 2015.’
We are working very hard to secure a good replacement for Anna Netrebko in this important part."
Not surprised at the decision - just at its astonishing lateness.