Hot on the heels of the announcement of Elina Garanca's departure from The Royal Opera's forthcoming production of Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos has come the news that British baritone Christopher Maltman will no longer appear as Harlequin in the same production. He will be replaced by Markus Werba.
The full press release reads:
'British baritone Christopher Maltman has withdrawn from the role of Harlequin in Ariadne auf Naxos with The Royal Opera.
'The role of Harlequin will now be sung by Austrian baritone Markus Werba making his debut at the Royal Opera House. Recent roles include Papageno (Die Zauberflöte) at the Salzburg Festival, Count Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro) in Lyon and Mercurio (La Calisto) in Munich.'
'The rest of the cast remains unchanged with Deborah Voigt as Ariadne/Prima Donna, Robert D. Smith and Richard Margison sharing the role of Tenor/Bacchus, Kristine Jepson as The Composer and Gillian Keith as Zerbinetta. All performances are conducted by Mark Elder.'
The withdrawal of Maltman and Garanca follows on from the previously announced departure of Bryn Terfel from the Ring Cycle due to family issues and Rolando Villazon from a new production of L'elisir d'amore because of ill heath and vocal difficulties.