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Denyce Graves leaves Opera New Jersey 'Carmen' production heading to Baltimore

For heatlh reasons, Denyce Graves, the popular mezzo-soprano long associated with the title role in Bizet's "Carmen," has bowed out of an Opera New Jersey production of that work, a little more than a week before it was due to open. 

After performances in three New Jersey locations, the production heads to Baltimore, where it will be presented at, and by, the Lyric Opera House on Feb. 14.

Replacing Graves in New Jersey and Baltimore will be Kirstin Chávez (left), who has sung Carmen with the New York City Opera and elsewhere.

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In a statement released by Opera New Jersey, Graves says: "I am deeply disappointed ... I arrived in New Jersey on the tail end of a bronchial virus and rehearsed with my colleagues in anticipation of a wonderful run of performances. Frustratingly, the bronchial virus got worse over the past week, and my physicians have recommended that I come out of the production in order for my body to recover completely."

PHOTO OF KIRSTIN CHAVEZ BY RICHARD BLINKOFF COURTESY OF KCHAVES.COM 

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