Slight at the Opera
updated 03/22/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 03/22/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST
Opera spokesman Christopher Millard insists it isn't that simple. "Casting is a marriage of theatrical credibility and vocal ability," he explains. "On this occasion those aspects were not going to jell." Not that he holds it against Voigt, whose replacement will be the lesser known but much slimmer German soprano Anne Schwanewilms. "We hope she will work [here] again," he adds. "She is a great singer."
Voigt has run into this problem—a surprising one in a world where Pavarotti-esque plumpness rules—before. At a mid-'90s rehearsal, conductor Georg Solti demanded, "Why are you so fat?" The comment sent the Des Plaines, III, native, who is divorced, back on a roller coaster of loss (as much as 80 lbs.) and regain. She tried Fen-Phen, fasting and a gastric bubble surgically inserted in her stomach, to no avail. "She would like to lose weight for health reasons," says Voigt's rep Albert Imperato. In the meantime she isn't hurting for work: She will perform a solo recital at New York's Carnegie Hall in April and has a CD due out that month. Says Imperato: "This is the London public's loss."