Latvian soprano becomes first singer to debut in two roles in consecutive performances.

Kristine Opolais made Metropolitan Opera history on Saturday night by becoming the first singer to debut in two roles in consecutive performances.

On Friday night, the Latvian soprano sang her first Butterfly to a packed house. After retiring to bed at 5am after a celebratory night out, she was apparently awakened a mere two-and-a-half hours later by the Met’s General Manager Peter Gelb. Anita Hartig, due to sing Mimi in a live in HD recorded performance of La Bohèmethat afternoon was sick and could Opolais stand in?

The wife of the new Boston Symphony Orchestra music director Andris Nelsons, Opolais had not sung Mimi since 2013 at the Vienna State Opera. According to the singer, she at first gave Gelb a firm “no” and put down the phone. But then “Some voice inside me said, ‘Why not?’” she told Associated Press. “It’s a chance, and you just said no. Maybe you should take it?”

Having changed her mind, the Met’s stage management and wardrobe went into overdrive and Opolais went on opposite Vittorio Grigolo as Rodolfo, in Franco Zeffirelli’s 30-year-old production, later that afternoon.

With the help of...

Access our paywalled content and archive of magazines, regular news and features for the limited offer of $3 per month. Support independent journalism.

Subscribe now or log in to continue reading.