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Soprano Netrebko pulls out of 'not right' London 'Faust'

By Michael Roddy

LONDON (Reuters) - Russian soprano Anna Netrebko has pulled out of a mostly sold-out production in April of Gounod's opera "Faust" at the Royal Opera House in London, saying that "the role is not right for me".

The opera house announced the move on Friday. Her publicist said there was no rift between the soprano and the opera house.

Netrebko, one of the world's leading sopranos, was to have sung the lead female role of Marguerite with an all-star cast including Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja in the title role, Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel as Mephistopheles and British baritone Simon Keenlyside as Valentin.

"I am so sorry to have to withdraw from the role of Marguerite in 'Faust'. After much consideration and intensive preparation, I have come to the conclusion that the role is not right for me," Netrebko is quoted as saying in the statement via a spokesperson.

"I had been very much looking forward to debuting this role at the Royal Opera House and following it with further performances in Vienna and Baden-Baden. Unfortunately, I must now withdraw from all these productions.

"I am very sad to be disappointing my fans in these cities and hope they will understand the difficult decision that I have had to make. However, I am very much looking forward to returning to The Royal Opera to perform with the company again in 2015."

Sean Michael Gross, Netrebko's publicist, said in a telephone call from New York that there had been no rift between the ROH and Netrebko and it was purely a matter of her having decided that the role, which she had not performed before, did not suit her.

"Anna loves performing at the Royal Opera House and she very much looks forward to going back there next season," Gross said.

The ROH said the rest of the cast for its performances of the popular opera about Faust's deal with the devil remains unchanged and that a replacement for the role of Marguerite will be announced later.

(Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

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