Villazon illness forces L.A. Opera and Metropolitan Opera to shuffle casting


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When Rolando Villazón coughs, the rest of the opera world catches cold.

The popular Mexican tenor said today that he is canceling the remainder of his 2009 appearances to undergo surgery to remove a cyst from his vocal cords.

His announcement has forced at least two major opera companies to look for replacements.

Los Angeles Opera had scheduled Villazón to open its 2009-10 season in Donizetti’s ‘The Elixir of Love,’ in which the tenor was to play the role of Nemorino. The company said today that Italian tenor Giuseppe Filianoti will take over the role. (Filianoti was already scheduled to play the part in some of the production’s performances.)


‘The Elixir of Love’ begins Sept. 12 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

In New York, the Metropolitan Opera had already cast Villazón with Anna Netrebko in a new production of Offenbach’s ‘Les Contes d’Hoffmann,’ scheduled for December. The company said today that it is currently seeking a replacement for Villazón.

The tenor will be treated by voice specialist and surgeon Dr. Gerrit Wohlt. He is expected to return to the stage in 2010, according to his management team.

-- David Ng