From Development server
16 July 2007

Dina Kuznetsova to Replace Barbara Frittoli in Lyric Opera's Upcoming Eugene Onegin

Russian-born soprano Dina Kuznetsova has been tapped to sing the role of Tatyana next season in Lyric Opera of Chicago's March performances of Eugene Onegin, the company announced today. Kuznetsova replaces the previously announced Barbara Frittoli, who had been slated to make her company debut in the role, but has withdrawn from the production after reportedly struggling to learn the Russian libretto.

"It is with great sadness that I withdraw from the production of Eugene Onegin in the winter of 2008," Frittoli is quoted as saying in a press release issued by the company today. "For many years I have been looking forward both to making my Lyric debut as well as my role debut as Tatyana in this beloved opera. However, after studying for more than a year, the language, alphabet, and pronunciation continue to elude my grasp. To hope for a 'miracle' can only put the production at risk. Therefore, the only 'miracle' for which I truly hope is that Lyric Opera will generously re-invite me in the near future. I deeply appreciate Lyric Opera of Chicago and the public for its understanding."

Lyric Opera's March performances of Tchaikovsky's opera will play in the Metropolitan Opera's Robert Carsen production; Paula Suozzi will make her company debut directing the revival. Company music director Sir Andrew Davis conducts the performances.

Kuznetsova's past performances at Lyric Opera of Chicago include the role of Juliette in last season's performances of Roméo et Juliette; Gilda in the company's 2005-06 Rigoletto; and the title role in the 2004-05 performances of The Cunning Little Vixen. The soprano is also an alumna of the Lyric's Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center. During the 2006-07 season, she also sang the role of Lauretta in Covent Garden's new production of Gianni Schicchi, under the baton of Royal Opera music director Antonio Pappano. In addition to Tatyana, next season Kuznetsova will sing the role of Pamina in San Francisco Opera's Die Zauberflöte and Violetta in Michigan Opera Theatre's La Traviata. The soprano, an alumna of Renata Scotto's Opera Academy and Santa Barbara's Music Academy of the West, is also a winner of the Marilyn Horne Foundation Competition. Her European opera debut came at Brussels' Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in a production of Handel's Saul, paced by René Jacobs.

Frittoli's withdrawal is the second principal-cast change to affect the Lyric's Onegin performances since the opera was announced as part of the company's 2007-08 season in January. In April, the company announced that Polish baritone Mariusz Kwiecien would assume the opera's title role for five of the ten scheduled performances after the previously announced Onegin, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, asked to be released from the second half of his contract, citing the desire to devote more time to his work and family in Europe. In addition to Hvorostovsky and Kwiecien, Kuznetsova will be joined by Frank Lopardo as Lensky, Nino Surguladze in the role of Olga, the Prince Gremin of Vitalij Kowalijov and Marie Plette as Mme. Larina.

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