Carmen, the indisposed Aronica replaced by the Mexican Chacón-Cruz. The antegenerale “saved” by the chorus tenor Li Vigni who sang in the pit. Tomorrow live streaming on the Teatro Massimo’s web TV for the opera’s premiere.

It will be the Mexican tenor Arturo Chacón-Cruz, fresh from the success of Macbeth at the Teatro An der Wien in Vienna, to replace the indisposed Roberto Aronica in the role of don José at the Teatro Massimo for the premiere of Carmen, tomorrow evening, Saturday 26 November at 8.30 p.m. Certainly the first two performances of the first cast will be his (the first tomorrow evening and the one on Wednesday 30 at 6.30 p.m.), for the continuation will be evaluated on the basis of Aronica’s condition. It is certainly a high-level replacement that the theatre has managed to prepare within 48 hours.

Chacón-Cruz has established himself in recent years thanks to important debuts in the most important theatres and concert halls around the world. After winning the Plácido Domingo Operalia Singing Competition in 2005, his career has taken off, with a repertoire ranging from Bellini and Donizetti to Puccini and Verdi. His interpreted roles include Jacopo Foscari, Gabriele Adorno, Pinkerton, Rodolfo, the Duke of Mantua, Alfredo, Hoffmann, Werther and Romeo. He has received many prizes and awards for his career, including the prestigious Alfonso Ortiz Tirado in Mexico. He shares a long and important friendship with Plácido Domingo, who, after discovering him in 2000, remained his friend and mentor, sharing the stage with him several times in both operas and concerts, and with Ramón Vargas.

Don Josè of the second cast is instead Roberto De Biasio, who will sing today at the dress rehearsal with over a thousand under-30s, organised by the association Giovani per il Teatro Massimo. Yesterday, at the dress rehearsal open to the audience of theatre employees, where Aronica was to sing, it was De Biasio who lent the “body” to Don Josè on stage. Not the voice, which had to be preserved for today’s general and subsequent performances. Instead, the voice was that of chorus tenor Antonino Li Vigni, who “saved” the antegenerale by singing from the orchestra pit, while De Biasio mimed gestures. An emergency solution that, according to the superintendent Francesco Giambrone, “is proof that the Massimo has been able to find within itself artistic resources capable of allowing the show to run smoothly”.

“I felt happy”, says Li Vigni, “I have crowned my dream, a dream I had cherished for many years, especially at the Massimo Theatre, because in other theatres I also performed as a soloist. I had not seen the score of Carmen for more than eighteen years, but I love it so much that I know it by heart. At half past four in the afternoon I was at home, the collaborating maestro Giuseppe Cinà called me, he told me there was this possibility, I went, we had a small rehearsal. I was neither excited nor scared. I was very careful with the score because from the pit I could not hear the other artists well and I risked being distracted by the tones of the instruments playing next to me. But it went well, I am happy”.

The staging of Georges Bizet’s masterpiece is by the Teatro Massimo in co-production with the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, the Teatro Regio in Turin and the Teatro La Fenice in Venice, a great Carmen that has toured all over Europe and has already landed at the Teatro Massimo in 2011. Tomorrow evening’s performance will be streamed live on the Teatro Massimo’s web TV.