Peter Gelb Admits to Removing Anita Rachvelishvili from Metropolitan Opera’s ‘Carmen’ & A Solo Recital

By Francisco Salazar

Peter Gelb has admitted to removing Anita Rachvelishvili from Met Productions following a performance of “Aida” in December 2022.

In a recent interview with the New York Times regarding the mezzo-soprano’s vocal struggles following her pregnancy the Met General Manager said, “It was obvious that she was not the same singer — at least temporarily not the same singer — who had conquered our stage so brilliantly up to that point.” He added that due to the performance he had decided to remove her from the new “Carmen” production she was set to headline for New Year’s Eve and a solo recital that was to have taken place earlier this month.

Gelb noted, “I had a painful discussion with her in my office, because I wanted her to hear it from me. I said that we needed to wait until she was back singing well again, and then we’d be happy to have her return. She had a hard time accepting that.”

According to the New York Times article, Rachvelishvili thought the “first performance went passably,” but reviews were mixed.

In the interview, Rachvelishvili documents her past two years which have been full of vocal issues as well as panic and has fought these with therapy, antidepressants, and meditation.  She also noted that, “All the physical problems, the vocal problems, are gone. Right now, I’m just battling with myself and my head to make sure that when I go onstage soon, I will feel calm inside. The joy of being back is so big that it overtakes me sometimes.”

Over the past years, the mezzo has canceled numerous performances by her own decision at such companies as the Royal Opera House, Teatro alla Scala, Bayerische Staatsoper, Teatro Colon, Arena di Verona, and Salzburg Festival, among others. She was, however, able to perform in productions at the Teatro San Carlo and the Greek National Opera. Over the years following her pregnancy, Rachvelishvili has also been open about her struggles and even took to social media back in July where she said, “My dearest friends! It’s been a long time since my last post or any information that came directly from me! I was very sick! I’ve had very very difficult last couple of years! My health was getting worse and I tried to stay strong and keep going, for my family, for our Little angel, for Opera and for love that I have for what I do. I tried hard but as you know we can not force our health. I kept going till I could but with little success and lots of suffering!”

She added, “I had to stop at the beginning of June and take care of myself! I am so sorry! It was a very difficult decision! I feel better and I am being treated by the best team of doctors and I will be back very soon! I will tell you my story as soon as possible and we will talk a lot about all the issues that a woman can have doing what we do! Meanwhile, I want to say thank you to my amazing Husband, who is always there for me. To my friends and family who were there for me, to all the theaters, casting directors and intendants who supported me in a very difficult period and the most importantly, a huge thank you to my amazing manager Alan Green, he was there for me for every second and for every difficulty that I’ve encountered. I am so grateful for having amazing people in my life and I feel lucky and blessed! Wish you all health and happiness and looking forward to seeing you soon on stage.”

The mezzo is set to return to the stage for a new production of “La Gioconda” at the Teatro San Carlo and a revival of “Aida” at the Bayerische Staatsoper.