TORONTO - The Canadian Opera Company has once again wrestled with the casting of two sumo wrestlers for an upcoming production of "Semele."
This time it's had to do a last-minute replacement of two grapplers who were originally cast after a long and difficult search but who weren't working out.
The COC says sumo wrestlers Emanuel (Tiny) Yarbrough of New Jersey and Elmer Gale of Toronto, who signed on after a tough casting call that began in December, will no longer be performing in the production of "Semele."
"The COC felt that the pairing of the two athletes was not working within the artistic direction of the three-minute scene in which they appear," a spokeswoman said Wednesday in an email.
In their place will be Los Angeles-based sumo wrestlers Byambajav (Byamba) Ulambayar and Americus Abesamis, who've already worked together in live performances and commercials, including Subaru ads that ran in Canada in 2008 and 2011.
In "Semele," they'll perform a staged match as part of the story that blends the Greek myth with the contemporary true story of an ill-fated Chinese love triangle.
Byamba, a native of Mongolia, is a multiple World Sumo Champion, while New Jersey's Americus is a multi-time medallist in the USA National Sumo Championships.
"Semele" runs May 9 to May 26.