Rome Opera Fires Soprano for Not Singing Out in Rehearsal

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News is coming out of Italy this week that Rome Opera had fired soprano Jessica Nuccio for not singing full out during a dress rehearsal for their production of La traviata, just days before opening night.

According to Norman Lebrecht,

“At the general rehearsal, she obtained permission from the conductor to ‘mark’ her part, not singing out in full voice because it was just 36 hours before the opening. This did not please the company’s artistic director, Alessio Vlad, who launched into a tirade against Jessica in front of the whole company, an assault so severe that she suffered a panic attack and an ambulance had to be called.

She was then fired from the production. The next day, the theatre demanded that she present a doctor’s note to pretend that she had invalided herself out of the production, which was absolutely not the case. She was fit to sing.”

It’s important to know that opera singers in Italy have no union to protect them from such actions by companies.

Rome Opera was the center of controversy just last month when they announced they had hired conductor Daniele Gatti as their new music director. Mr. Gatti faced allegations of sexual misconduct during his time Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, which terminated his contract, saying a number of its female members had reported experiences “which are inappropriate considering his position as chief conductor.”

However, he was quickly hired by Rome Opera. Responding to questioning over the allegations, Carlo Fuortes, the general manager of the Rome Opera, said in an email to the New York Times, that there had been no prosecutions against Mr. Gatti and noted that the allegations go back 20 years. “We cannot sentence anybody without a regular prosecution. I believe this will be very dangerous,” he said.

With this issue and the treatment of Ms. Nuccio, it looks like Rome Opera is back in the headlines for the wrong reasons.

This is an ongoing story, if anyone has any information, please email cpeterson@onstageblog.com