Mainstay Soprano Feels Snub bed by the Met
- Ruth Ann Swenson, a mainstay soprano at the Metropolitan Opera, will take the stage tomorrow to begin a run of Handel’s “Giulio Cesare” just six weeks after finishing chemotherapy for breast cancer.
But her performances as a regal yet coquettish Cleopatra will be bittersweet, because the Met, for reasons unrelated to her illness, appears no longer to want her services after nearly two decades of regular performances.
Ms. Swenson, known for her creamy sound and superb technique, has no more engagements there beyond a string of “Traviata” performances next season. Further, the Met has given one of the “Giulio Cesare” performances to her understudy, Danielle de Niese, described on the Met Web site as “the young star of the recent celebrated Glyndebourne production.” The site makes no reference to Ms. Swenson’s merits. And next year four of her nine “Traviata” dates have been handed to another star, Renée Fleming.
“It’s hurtful,” Ms. Swenson said. “I’m a New Yorker. I’ve sung here for many, many years. I’ve had great success. I’ve never let them down.” She added: “It’s so stressful to get up onstage and realize that the top guy doesn’t like you, and there’s nothing I can do about it. Nothing.”More about this go to NY Times page