Ghent soprano gets last minute call-up at Salzburg Festival

The Ghent Soprano Emma Posman had just three hours to prepare for the leading role in a performance Mozart’s ‘The Magic Flute’ at the prestigious Salzburg Festival. Emma Posman was shopping in Salzburg on Saturday afternoon when she received a call asking her whether she would like to play The Queen of the Night in a production of ‘The Magic Flute’  

The Uzbek Albina Shagimuratova that was due to play the role had fallen ill and Emma Posman was the only other singer in Salzburg on Saturday that knew to role by heart as she sings in a children’s version of Mozart’s opera.  

She had just three hours to prepare for her performance at the Salzburg Festival. Emma Posman told VRT Radio 1’s morning news and current affairs programme ‘De ochtend’’ that “These were extreme circumstances. No rehearsal and straight on the stage and on live television”. She was given summary instructions from the director and the costume that had been made for someone else was adapted as much as possible.  

‘The Magic Flute’ has been performed dozens of times at the Salzburg Festival. The late Belgian opera director Gerard Mortier was in charge of the festival from 1991 to 2001. Saturday’s performance was accompanied by the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Constantinos Carydis. The opera was directed by the young American director Lydia Steier.