Angela Gheorghiu has been fired in Chicago. She is trying to keep up with her husband, I guess. She has been missing rehearsals and was spotted in the audience at the Metropolitan Opera when she was supposed to be rehearsing. This is seen as disrespecting of the Chicago Lyric Opera.
How important is rehearsing in a war horse like La Boheme? When there are people who step in at the last minute for a living, why should Angela suppose she cannot also do this?
I remember the long ago performance of Dame Joan in I Puritani where it looked like the entire staging was done so that she would not have to rehearse. Everyone circled around her while she stood in the center of the stage.
The increased emphasis on staging at the opera does make it seem necessary to rehearse at least a little. Maybe Angela was just going to do her standard version in any case. Is it a provocation, or just excessive self-confidence?
Angela has pointed out, "I have sung Bohème hundreds of times...." I think maybe I am on Angela's side this time. I have myself stood on the stage performing a role with people who had just been introduced to me an hour before. They had the blocking explained to them in the most cursory manner imaginable. The performances were always good, and occasionally they were wonderful. If I were a paying member of the audience in Chicago, I would be threatening to cancel my subscription.
I also recall an occasion when I looked down into the pit to see a complete stranger conducting. Introductions were made at intermission. That performance also went fine. These managers might want to consider loosening up a little.
My viewpoint expresses only how I would feel if I owned a ticket. I would definitely prefer an unrehearsed Angela to a fully rehearsed understudy.