Lyric Opera Baltimore found itself in need of a new villain less than two weeks before the company's season-opening production of "Tosca."
The exceptional bass-baritone Eric Owens, who had quite a triumph recently as Alberich in the Metropolitan Opera's controversial staging of Wagner's "Ring," was to have sung the role of the despicable Scarpia in Baltimore. A case of strep throat has caused him to cancel.
Replacing Owens will be another American singer, bass Raymond Aceto, who has earned fine notices for his performances as Scarpia with the Houston Opera and Santa Fe Opera.
In a statement released by Lyric opera Baltimore, Owens said he canceled "with deep regret ... Not only was it to be a role debut for me, but I was excited to make my debut with this very special company."