Netrebko says no to Norma

Soprano Anna Netrebko has pulled out of a Royal Opera House (ROH) production of Norma. Bellini’s opera runs from 12 September to 8 October, but Netrebko said in a statement that her voice, ‘has evolved in a different direction.’

She continued: ‘This is something I could not have anticipated when maestro Antonio Pappano and I planned this project four years ago. It pains me greatly to disappoint him, the ROH, and audiences in the UK. Knowing that tickets will soon go on sale and not wanting to mislead anyone, I feel I must now be honest with myself as an artist and make this very difficult decision.’

It is the second time Netrebko has nixed an ROH date, after pulling out from playing Marguerite in Faust in 2014.

‘We are working hard on finding a new leading soprano to join Pappano, Joseph Calleja, Sonia Ganassi and Brindley Sherratt in the rehearsal room later this summer,’ said ROH director of opera Kasper Holten. ‘We are, of course, very frustrated that Anna has felt it necessary to cancel a major role debut with us for the second time…we do respect her decision and understand how difficult this is for her as well.’

The debut of the 44-year-old singer in Norma has been marketed as a highlight of the 2016-17 ROH season, making her withdrawal particularly difficult for the company.

‘I am of course saddened not to be doing this iconic opera with Anna,’ said ROH music director Pappano, who will conduct the production. ‘We had planned this project around her ambition to take it on some time ago but we all have to accept that things sometimes change.’ Pappano added that he and Netrebko did have plans to work together on other projects in the future.