By MIKE SILVERMAN – 2 hours ago
NEW YORK (AP) — Now the soprano at “Tristan und Isolde” is sick, too.
Already missing tenor Ben Heppner because of a virus, the Metropolitan Opera lost Deborah Voigt in the middle of the second act Friday night because of a stomach ailment. That left with Met with both singers in the lead roles making their Met debuts, Gary Lehman and Janice Baird.
Heppner withdrew from the first four performances of the highly anticipated six-performance run and was replaced by John Mac Master in Monday’s opener and by Lehman on Friday.
Voigt sang the opener but didn’t sound at her best Friday and had trouble with the high notes during the first act.
“She was very heroic,” Met general manager Peter Gelb said. “She told me before the second act began that she was feeling sick this morning but she didn’t tell us because she didn’t want to disturb us. She wanted to be very supportive of Mr. Lehman.”
After the first act, Voigt spoke with Gelb and said she was ill.
“We agreed she would start the second act and see how it went,” Gelb said.
Baird, Voigt’s cover singer, was put on alert during the first intermission, which lasted about 10 minutes longer than usual, and by the start of the second act was standing by.
Voigt signaled near the beginning of the second-act love duet that she couldn’t continue and hurried offstage. Music director James Levine kept conducting. Then the curtain came down, Lehman started singing and the orchestra stopped.
An announcement was made that Voigt suddenly had taken ill. Baird got into the costume that Voigt had been wearing and replaced her about 10-15 minutes later. Baird and Lehman received enthusiastic applause at the end of the act.
Mac Master received mostly negative reviews following Monday’s opener of the revival. The Tristan for the next two performances is listed as TBA, including the March 22 matinee that is to be telecast to theaters worldwide.
Heppner and Voigt, two of the world’s most acclaimed Wagnerian singers, were to be performing “Tristan” together for the first time.