When Salvatore Licitra sings those words at the end of his big aria tonight, they'll be hitting all too close to home.
The Sicilian tenor, who is currently starring as the cuckolded street entertainer Canio in Leoncavallo's I pagliacci at the Metropolitan Opera, badly injured his shoulder last night — but intends to go through with this evening's performance nevertheless.
According to Elena Park, the Met's director of communications, the accident happened in midtown Manhattan as Licitra was arriving at a reception given by Sony BMG Classical to celebrate his latest CD, Forbidden Love. The tenor emerged from a taxi and stepped between two parked cars to reach the curb — only to trip over a metal rod extending from one of the vehicles. Licitra landed on the sidewalk left shoulder first; subsequent X-rays and MRIs indicated that he had torn two tendons.
Yet the show must go on, of course, and tonight Licitra will go on with it. This afternoon the tenor is working with Met directors to settle on staging alterations that can accommodate his condition: for instance, Park told PlaybillArts, he will wear a sling on stage, he won't be able to take his clown jacket off, and the final scene, in which Canio stabs his wife Nedda, will be modified.
Licitra and his doctors are making no decisions yet regarding his upcoming appearances, though Park indicated that they hope to avoid surgery.
The Met and Licitra already have a history of handling "tenor drama": his debut at the house in May 2002 was as a last-minute substitute replacing Luciano Pavarotti in what was supposed to have been the older man's final appearance there. As he had done three days earlier, Pavarotti cancelled about two hours before curtain time, claiming a bad case of the flu.