Australian bass-baritone Shane Lowrencev has withdrawn from the role of Hans Sachs in Opera Australia’s production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, which opens next week in Melbourne. An OA stalwart, it was to have been Lowrencev’s first time performing the role in full, having sung the third act of the opera in a semi-staged concert for State Opera of South Australia in August this year.

Lowrencev himself was a replacement for OA’s original Hans Sachs, the American baritone James Johnson, who performed the role of Wotan and Wanderer for the company’s 2016 RingCycle. Replacing Lowrencev is German baritone Michael Kupfer-Radecky, who makes his Australian debut in the role.

Michael Kupfer-Radecky. Photo © Simon Pauly

“Shane Lowrencev has decided to withdraw from the incredibly demanding role of Hans Sachs in Opera Australia’s production of  Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg,” said a spokesperson for Opera Australia. “Shane feels exhausted and doesn’t want to compromise the production or the performances of his colleagues. Opera Australia accepts Shane’s decision and looks forward to working with him in the future.”

Kupfer-Radecky is an experienced Wagnerian, having performed the role of Wotan in Das Rheingoldand Die Walküre, as well as...