This is an interesting story posted yesterday in the Chicago Suntimes.
by Laura Emerick
One of opera's big stars has been fired for conduct unbecoming a diva.
Soprano Angela Gheorghiu, scheduled to sing Mimi in Puccini's "La boheme" at Lyric Opera of Chicago, was dismissed Friday for missing rehearsals, said general director William Mason.
Gheorghiu, who has a history of misbehavior at other leading opera houses, missed six of 10 rehearsals for "La boheme," which opens Monday. She and her husband, tenor Roberto Alagna, are known as opera's "Love Couple." He has an equally tempestuous record; he made headlines in December after being booed off the stage at La Scala in Milan during Verdi's "Aida."
"An opera is a collaborative process, and there must be a serious artistic commitment from everyone," Mason said. "We can't allow anyone to be a distraction by their lack of respect for their colleagues."
The last straw came Tuesday, when Gheorghiu missed a full-orchestra rehearsal and left for New York City to attend her husband's opening night performance of Gounod's "Romeo et Juliette" at the Metropolitan Opera. Thus, she violated her contract by leaving Chicago without permission, Lyric contends.
In a statement released by her publicist, the Romanian-born soprano said, "I needed to be by Roberto's side at this very important moment. I have sung 'La boheme" hundreds of times, and thought missing a few rehearsals wouldn't be a tragedy."
Gheorghiu will be replaced by her understudy, soprano Elaine Alvarez.
"I've never seen anything like this kind of behavior before," Mason said. "This is the first time we've ever done anything like this."
Mason said that even Pavarotti and soprano Kathleen Battle -- notorious because the Met fired her in 1994 for "unprofessional actions" -- showed up for rehearsals. Pavarotti, who died Sept. 6, got booted for canceling engagements at Lyric.
Monica and I planned to see this opera especially for Gheorghui's tragic Mimi.
I love La boheme, it was my first exposure to opera way back in grade school. I'll never forget how my teacher spoon fed Puccini's opera to his very reluctant class. He painted the story and the characters so brilliantly we could feel them. When he brought in a film, it was magical. We understood it, even in Italian. We were all silent and mesmerized. Even the boys loved it.
Well, Miss Diva did not respect the opera, the company or the director. She didn't bother to clear her missed rehearsals or consider how it would effect others. After all she is the star.
I'd previously read that the wonderfully talented soprano Kathleen Battle is hellish to be around, too. I can imagine that being so extraordinarily talented requires a big ego and lots of star studded baggage. I realize it's your name up there and your name that puts the butts in the seats, but does that mean you can't be nice or at least respectful to the others working with you?
So, on the eve of the Boheme opening, Diva Gheorghiu gets sacked worse than Rex Grossman does on any given Sunday. The show will go on and perhaps a new star will be born.
Hopefully she learned some important lessons from Miss Gheorghiu.