NEW YORK (AP) - Ben Heppner has withdrawn from the Metropolitan Opera's new production of Wagner's Ring Cycle.
The Met said Tuesday that the Canadian tenor had retired the role from his repertory. Met general manager Peter Gelb had announced in January 2007 that Heppner would sing the role when the Robert Lepage stagings of "Siegfried" and "Goetterdaemmerung" premiered during the 2011-12 season.
Heppner, who has had health problems in recent years that led to cracked high notes, sang Siegfried for the first time at the 2008 Aix-en-Provence Festival in France.
Gary Lehman will take over in "Siegfried" on Oct. 27, Nov. 1 and 5, and April 21 and 30, 2012, with Stephen Gould scheduled for May 9, 2012. Lehman will appear in "Goetterdaemmerung" in 2012 on Jan. 27, Feb. 7 and 11 and May 3. Gould will sing on Jan. 31, Feb. 3, April 24 and May 12.
Met music director James Levine conducts. Gelb previously announced soprano Deborah Voigt as Bruennhilde, bass-baritone Bryn Terfel as Wotan and tenor Jonas Kaufmann as Siegmund.