The resident conductor for San Diego Opera is sick, but the show must go on to open “Moby-Dick” on Saturday. The company announced last night it will bring in the conductor who just led the orchestra for “Moby-Dick” performances in Calgary, Alberta, to fill her place.

Sickness is a constant foe in the behind-the-scenes work of making opera. Last year, a cast member fell sick with pneumonia while the company was preparing “Faust” — which meant the company directors had to make “a lot of frantic phone calls.”

This time, opera general director Ian Campbell said in a statement that conductor Karen Keltner has been taking antibiotics and was planning to “soldier on nevertheless.” But she did suggest Campbell look for a replacement just in case. Now, they do need that replacement.

“She has now told me that in the interests of this important production, it would be best to replace her as she was unsure that her health would allow her to fulfill the engagement at the standard she expects of herself, and the audience and opera deserve,” he said last night.

Lucky for the opera, Joseph Mechavich has conducted this very opera already this month. Here’s a video of him describing the music of the opera, which he filmed while at Calgary Opera. He joined the cast in San Diego for a rehearsal last night.

We showed you yesterday a peek at the rigging that helps a singer to fly. Here’s the next backstage video peek that San Diego Opera put together — the orchestra in rehearsal for “Moby-Dick.” (Keltner’s at the helm in this clip.)

I’m Kelly Bennett, the arts editor for VOSD. You can reach me directly at or 619.325.0531.

And follow Behind the Scene on Facebook.

Kelly Bennett is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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