La Scala hasn't had it easy over the last few months with cast changes for both the opera and the ballet: Cecilia Bartoli's concert to close the Expo season in October was annulled on the day; Carlos Álvarez pulled out Giovanna d'Arco on the opening night of the season which was broadcast live; La Scala held the curtain for I due Foscari as Michele Gamba rushed to the theatre when Michele Mariotti was taken ill in the hour before the start; and one of the very few guests for the current ballet season, Alina Somova, was forced to withdraw from Don Quixote because of injury, while previously announced stars Marianela Nuñez and Natalia Osipova had both mysteriously disappeared from the casting of Don Q in the preceding months.
Now poor Eva-Maria Westbroek, who was due to sing Minnie in La fanciulla del West – a new production by Robert Carsen with Riccardo Chailly conducting – is ill and has announced that she'll miss the first three performances, including the live radio transmission tomorrow evening, and the cinema and tv broadcast on 10 May. She also missed the dress rehearsal last Saturday.
Dutch soprano Barbara Haveman will take her place and with this role she'll be making her house debut.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.