Once in a while before an opera starts, someone will appear on stage and make a cast change announcement to the audience. “For tonight’s performance, Luciano Pavarotti will be singing Rigoletto instead of Placido Domingo; Mr. Domingo was called back to Spain,” or something along those lines.
Unless I was covering that opera or familiar with either name, I never paid close attention. Sounds good. Whatever. Moving on.
But Tuesday I got my first taste of the drama behind the drama: What happens when someone calls in sick less than a week before opening night.
At 9:30 a.m. Monday, one of the main singers for “Faust,” Joshua Hopkins, told general director Ian Campbell he was getting sick. They immediately decided Hopkins should withdraw from the first performance of “Faust,” and maybe more, depending on his health.
Three hours later, Campbell booked another baritone to sing the Valentin role, Brian Mulligan. By the time I was sitting in Campbell’s office on Tuesday at 2:45 p.m., Mulligan had arrived and was at his costume fitting.
How did they make this happen?