From the Desk of Artistic Director Jonathan Pell

by Megan Meister

Well, I can start to breathe again.

Last Friday morning when I arrived in the office at 8:00 a.m. I found a deeply distressing e-mail from Myrtò Papatanasiu’s manager in Italy, informing me that there had been an accident on stage during a performance of Rusalka at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels on the preceding Wednesday night and Miss Papatansiu’s foot  had been seriously injured by a piece of scenery during a set change.   Apparently, she was able to finish the performance, and was able to sing the final performance on Friday night, but now, rather than coming straight to Dallas to begin rehearsals for her American debut as “Violetta” in our production of La traviata on Saturday as planned, she was returning to her home in Athens to have her foot x-rayed and examined by her own doctor.  Naturally, I was concerned for her, but I was also worried about our rehearsals, which were scheduled to begin on Monday morning with the conductor, stage director and the rest of our cast.   There isn’t a lot they could do without a “Violetta” and there was, of course, the very real possibility that she might discover that her injury was even more serious than originally feared, and that she might have to cancel.

I was greatly appreciative for the e-mail I received on Saturday from Peter de Caluwe, the general director of the Monnaie, who wrote in reply to my inquiry, and explained in more detail what had happened, and he reassured me that he thought that Myrtò would be fine and that he didn’t think that she would cancel her appearance in Dallas.

She did in fact, go to the doctor in Athens first thing on Monday morning and the x-ray didn’t reveal any bones broken in her foot, and apparently a lot of the swelling had gone down since the accident.  I received an e-mail on Monday afternoon confirming that she was on her way home to pack.

I am writing all this now because, although she is still in some pain, her plane just landed at DFW and she is scheduled to begin rehearsals first thing tomorrow morning.

She is, of course,  renowned for her portrayal of the heroine in this most personal of all Verdi’s operas, but Myrtò has never performed La traviata with this particular conductor, director or any of our cast, so there is much to do to make up for lost time.    Fortunately we still have more than three weeks before we open.

I was really looking forward to her debut with the company and being able to add her name to the distinguished list of foreign artists who have made their American debut with The Dallas Opera, so I am really glad and greatly relieved that she is finally here.

I prefer the drama to be on the stage and not in my office…

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