Tenor Is Late For Performance of “Siegfried”

There were groans after an announcer arrived on stage just before curtain-up of Wagner‘s “Siegfried” at the Berlin Staatsoper the other night, but what he said must have surprised even the most regular opera-goer: “We don’t know where our lead tenor is.” Canadian opera singer Lance Ryan was missing from the production of Wagner’s opera – the third in the “Ring” cycle. Was he on a bender at some bar? Was he thrown by the early curtain time, 4 pm? I don’t have an explanation, other than: maybe he was taking a nap. I mean, “Siegried” is the most interminable opera in the entire canon, and the last time I saw it I took a nap that lasted at least an hour. In Berlin, a substitute was quickly found for Ryan (“Is there a tenor in the house?”), and he sang from offstage while one of the assistant directors dressed in the character’s costume and went onstage. As Anna Russell would have said, “I am not making this up.”

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