In Wagner’s”Der Fliegende Holländer,” a bewitched sea captain is permitted to leave his boat only after every seven years, to try and break the spell which has condemned him to roam the oceans for eternity.
Nearly eight years have passed since the excellent Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel last made landfall at the Metropolitan Opera. He was scheduled to return on March 2 in the title part of the company’s first new production of”Der Fliegende Holländer” (“The Flying Dutchman”) in over three decades.
However, whatever curse has kept Mr. Terfel, one of the largest stars in opera, from the stage of the Met has seemingly not yet raised: The company announced on Wednesday evening that Mr. Terfel, who fractured his ankle in a recent collapse in Spain, had pulled from the entire run.
Lee Abrahamian, a spokeswoman for the Met, said the company was still searching for a replacement.
Mr. Terfel, 54, fractured his ankle when he fell earlier this week in Bilbao, where he was appearing in, yes,”Der Fliegende Holländer.” He returned home to Wales, where he’s expected to have surgery.
The Met confirmed Mr. Terfel’s withdrawal after he canceled two upcoming recitals in the United States. First the Lyric Opera of Chicago declared that he had pulled from a concert planned for Feb. 2, which was to have been his first appearance there in nearly 15 years. Lyric Opera reported he had”fractured the three prominences of his ankle, causing the ankle to partially dislocate and requiring a surgery scheduled for later this week.” Then Carnegie Hall announced his Feb. 9 date was away.
The Met now has a hole in the middle of one of the main productions of this year. It’s a high-profile assignment: The brand new production has been led by François Girard, whose striking 2013 staging of Wagner’s”Parsifal” was widely praised. The cast of the opera includes the acclaimed soprano Anja Kampe, making her Met debut as Senta.
This isn’t the first time Mr. Terfel’s long-delayed yield to the Met was postponed: In 2017, he retreated from a new production of Puccini’s”Tosca,” citing vocal fatigue. He has not performed at the Met since May 9, 2012, when he sang the role of the Wanderer at Wagner’s”Siegfried,” in Robert Lepage’s much-debated, high tech staging.
He has sometimes been observed in the United States since then — he made a memorable appearance in the title character of”Sweeney Todd” with the New York Philharmonic in 2014, opposite Emma Thompson — but he has confined most of his appearances in staged operas to European houses. He has also gone through a number of changes in his personal life, such as becoming married last year, into the harpist Hannah Stone.
In a promotional video, Mr. Terfel talked about his excitement at returning to the Met:”I could tell you, hand on heart, even when I walk through this point door for a first day of a new production, I’m as excited as a little kid in a candy store, and I am as nervous as I was singing Figaro in’Le Nozze di Figaro’ for the first time at the Metropolitan Opera.”