Opera stars, fearing radiation, skip Japan tour

Two of the biggest stars of New York's Metropolitan Opera have pulled out of a Japan tour because they are afraid of radioactive contamination.

Soprano Anna Netrebko and tenor Joseph Calleja announced at the last minute that they would not join the company on a tour of Nagoya and Tokyo, forcing the Met to "scour the world" for replacements so that the shows could go on, general manager Peter Gelb said Tuesday.

Gelb said he respected the singers' decision and called them great artists, but he added that he felt it was safe to perform in Japan. The tour begins Saturday.

Japan was hit by a devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11 that left about 25,000 people dead or missing and crippled a nuclear reactor north of Tokyo.