Photograph courtesy Cincinnati Opera
I have never sung opera. I have, however, been pregnant. And, as I recall, there were a few weeks toward the end of gestation during which my womb and my diaphragm were battling over the same real estate inside my body, and I doubt that I could have managed to trill out an aria. Perhaps that’s the realization that Jessica Rivera came to recently.
The soprano was scheduled to play Micaela in Cincinnati Opera’s upcoming Carmen. But the production’s last performance is June 22 and Rivera is expecting her first child mid-July, and—perhaps not surprisingly—today the opera announced that Rivera has asked to withdraw from the role “to prepare for this happy event in a timely fashion.”
I don’t know if Rivera’s condition was interfering with her ability to hit the high notes in “Je dis que rien ne m’epouvante,” or if she simply decided it would be prudent to sit quietly at home folding onsies in the event that the baby arrived a tad early. Either way, she’s out and her replacement will be Laquita Mitchell.
You may remember Mitchell; she performed here as the luscious, doomed Mimi in the opera’s 2005 production of La Boheme. A good substitution. But still: it would have brought a whole new level of pathos to Act III, having a hugely pregnant Micaela attempting to win Don Jose back from Carmen. I mean, if you thought the guy was a cad before…