What is going on with our beloved Ben Heppner? According to John Terauds at the Toronto Star, and the CBC our Canadian boy is withdrawing from his Ring Cycle engagement at The Met Opera, and retiring the role of Siegfried. What I don’t know is why.
Maybe he’s tired, overworked, doesn’t like the production, or just wants some press. I sincerely hope it has nothing to do with the vocal challenges that have been plaguing him over the past few years. I had the opportunity to see him in recital in September of 2010, and in the spring of 2005 in Toronto, and both times he cracked on high notes, faltered during delicate passages, and left the stage looking less than confident. Critics blamed it on the Heppner Curse, while others labeled it a vocal catastrophe. Regardless, I feel for the guy, having to endure such rattling press. What does this mean for his upcoming schedule? Only time will tell, but I am dying to see him in the Bayerische Staatsoper Opernfestspiele production of Tristan und Isolde this summer.
Replacing Ben Heppner as Siegfried will be Gary Lehman and Stephen Gould.
Photo: Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Grand Théâtre de Provence, courtesy of Forum Opera