Kathleen Battle, a singer whose dismissal by the Metropolitan Opera more than twenty years ago made front-page news, will return to the Metropolitan Opera next season to sing a recital of spirituals.
The concert, scheduled for Nov. 13, was arranged by Peter Gelb, the company’s general manager. “I think great artists should be on the stage of the Met,” Mr. Gelb said in an interview. “There aren’t enough of them.”
Ms. Batttle’s dismissal — and return — calls to mind other clashes between opera divas and impresarios. Maria Callas, one of the great sopranos of the 20th century, was fired by the Met in 1958 after a dispute over which roles she would agree to sing. She, too, was rehired, in 1965, and returned to give two final Met performances of “Tosca” that are now considered legendary.
Ms Battle’s concert will feature a selection of spirituals.
Here is Kathleen Battle in “Voices of Spring” by Johann Strauss, in a performance with the Vienna Philharmonic, conducted by Herbert Von Karajan: