The Show Must Roll On: Injured Soprano Finishes Scottish Opera's Lucia in Wheelchair

Classic Arts News   The Show Must Roll On: Injured Soprano Finishes Scottish Opera's Lucia in Wheelchair
 
The show must go on, on foot or on wheels. South African soprano Sally Silver was forced to rely on the latter after damaging her calf muscle during Act I of Scottish Opera's production of Lucia di Lammermoor.

The injury left Silver, who was singing the title role, in severe pain and unable to walk; colleagues feared the performance would have to be cut short.

"Now we are not saying anything about the average age of opera-goers, but Sally was able to borrow a wheelchair from an audience member who was safely in her seat," observed the Glasgow Herald. Somewhat less mischievously, BBC News quoted a Scottish Opera spokeswoman as saying, "Our quick-thinking general director Alex Reedijk borrowed the wheelchair from one of our regular supporters, and Sally was pushed back on stage for the final two acts."

Silver returned to the stage to deliver what the BBC called "a note-perfect finale."

Despite managing to complete the matinee show on May 19, which was the second performance in the opera's run, Silver had to be replaced by Glasgow soprano Christina Dunwoodie for the May 22 performance.

"Sally hurt her calf during the first act and was in real agony," the Scottish Opera spokeswoman told the BBC, "but in the true spirit of the theater she was adamant the show must go on ... We announced to the audience beforehand what was going on, and they gave Sally a huge round of applause when she reappeared. She is an absolute trooper and gave a flawless performance." The spokeswoman didn't specify exactly how the soprano injured her leg.

While Silver is still on crutches, the company hopes she will be able to return to sing in the opera's final Glasgow shows next week, before the production goes on tour to Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Stoke-on-Trent.

Scottish Opera's new staging of Lucia, incidentally, is by John Doyle, the Tony-winning director of the recent Broadway revivals of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd and Company. Earlier this year, Doyle directed Aura McDonald and Patti LuPone in Kurt Weill's Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny at Los Angeles Opera; next season he directs a new production of Britten's Peter Grimes at the Metropolitan Opera.

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