"It's been great when she's at rehearsals," chuckled a Lyric Opera staffer earlier this week when asked how Angela Gheorghiu (Mimì) and Nicole Cabell (Musetta) were getting on as they prepared for La Bohème, which opens October 1. Turns out Miss Angela missed six of the ten, according to the Tribune, and was fired from the production. Said production, directed by Renata Scotto, will open with Elaine Alvarez as Mimì, instead.
Gheorghiu was spotted Tuesday at the Metropolitan Opera's production of Romeo et Juliette, starring Roberto Alagna, and reportedly looked pretty hot. Skipping town was one reason cited for the dismissal. More on this as information comes out.
Update: Lyric Opera general director William Mason's statement follows.
“Miss Gheorghiu has missed six of ten rehearsals, including the piano dress rehearsal and both staging rehearsals with the orchestra. She missed one of the most critical stage-orchestra rehearsals when she left the city for New York without permission, a direct violation of her contract. In addition, she refused to attend fittings for the new costumes which she herself had demanded.
“It is with tremendous regret and sadness that we are compelled to take this action, but Miss Gheorghiu’s actions have shown total disregard for Lyric Opera’s dedicated personnel and for her fellow artists.
"Were we to accommodate Miss Gheorghiu’s behavior, we would be doing so at their expense, and at the cost of undermining Lyric’s commitment to our patrons to produce only finely crafted performances of impeccable quality.
"We cannot and will not make those compromises.”
Update 2: Calling Alagna's Met Opera appearance a "very important moment" in a statement from her press agent, Gheorghiu says she asked permission to go to New York, but was denied. Here's her statement.
Angela Gheorghiu: “My husband Roberto is singing two major roles at the Metropolitan Opera. [Alagna sings Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, to open October 8.—ed.] I asked Lyric Opera to let me go to New York for two days to be with him and they said “no.” But I needed to be by Roberto’s side at this very important moment. I have sung Bohème hundreds of times, and thought missing a few rehearsals wouldn’t be a tragedy. It was impossible to do the costume fitting at the same time I was in New York. Coming back from New York, I caught a cold—a most unfortunate coincidence. I saw the company doctor when I returned and he prescribed antibiotics. I just wanted to get well. My colleagues knew about this and were supportive. Of course, I’m very sad that this has happened as I was very eager to sing in Chicago.”