When the coronavirus shut the Metropolitan Opera’s doors on March 12, the company was hours away from bringing up the curtain on a revival of Rossini’s bubbly Cinderella adaptation, “La Cenerentola.” Massenet’s brooding “Werther” was to open a few days later.

Those operas and others vanished with the final eight weeks of the Met’s season. So we asked some of the singers who had been waiting years to perform them to give us some musical phrases that they — and we — lost. Here are their voices, and edited excerpts from the conversations.

The Met sometimes casts five years ahead of time, and this “Simon Boccanegra” had already gone through shifts because of financial changes. But it would have been wonderful to sing a role I’ve done in Berlin and at La Scala in Milan, and finally be able to step into Amelia with a much more developed internal self. When the contract came, I was making decisions about going on the trajectory toward Amelia — and also Verdi’s Desdemona and Elvira in “Ernani.” As a singer, as an artist, you want theaters to think of you as on a development trajectory. To have a staple repertory — like “La Bohème,” which I was doing performances of after “Boccanegra” — and also new things you’re adding.

This would have been the opportunity to sing with the baritone Carlos Álvarez, who hasn’t been at the Met in a while. Maybe that was too good to be true. I can’t even begin to imagine what the musical and interpersonal chemistry would have been like.

Read the complete article via The New York Times.

Photo: Chris Singer