Photo Update: DiDonato and Wheelchair Go On With the Show

Classic Arts Features   Photo Update: DiDonato and Wheelchair Go On With the Show
As promised, American mezzo-soprano continued on as Rosina in the Royal Opera House's Il barbiere di Siviglia July 7 after having literally "broken a leg" during the July 4 performance.


As previously reported on PlaybillArts and all around the web, the opera star broke her fibula early in the opening show, completing that performance on crutches.

A later trip to the hospital revealed the more serious injury, which calls for her to be confined to a chair while the bone heals.

Determined to finish her commitment, the good-spirited diva was re-staged into the production to allow for the additional challenges that come when a leading lady in a lively physical role must wheel around the other performers.

Reportedly, Tuesday night went off just fine. The ever-communicative DiDonato posted the following on her blog post-performance:

"Well, without a doubt, last night was one of the most memorable, exciting nights in my life. I suppose that makes two in a row for me. I arrived at the theater around 4:30 and was introduced to my new co-star: a beautiful, sleek 'Moonlite Breezy Wheelchair.'"

"The game plan when I arrived, was to have a member of the directing team push me through the show (thanks for volunteering, Tom!) But the moment I sat in the chair, I felt oddly at home and found that I was actually rather dexterous on the four wheels... For me, I can only say that I had a ball. Is that insane? The odd thing about this, is that in a big way, being 'trapped' in this wheelchair was a quite literal way of demonstrating Rosina's frustration and HUGE desire to break free."

Her full account of the evening may be read at


Il barbiere di Siviglia will perform in repertory through July 18. Though tickets are increasingly hard to come by, the show will be broadcast to outdoor screens around the U.K. on July 15, a performance for which DiDonato hopes to at least be in a standing position.

The cast includes Juan Diego Fl‹rez as Count Almaviva, Pietro Spagnoli as Figaro, Alessandro Corbelli as Bartolo, Feruccio Furlanetto as Basilio, Changhan Lim as Fiorello and Jennifer Rhys-Davies as Berta.

Juan Diego Fl‹rez's only remaining performances are July 10 and 15. On July 13 and 18 Count Almaviva will be sung by South African tenor Colin Lee, a veteran to the piece who has previously performed the role with Vienna State Opera, Opera de Paris, Welsh National Opera and English National Opera.

For ticket and further schedule information, visit Royal Opera House.

Here is a look at Ms. DiDonato with her new stage partner.

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All photos by Neil Gillespie.

Pietro Spagnoli and Joyce DiDonato

Pietro Spagnoli, Joyce DiDonato, Antonio Pappano, Alessandro Corbelli and Juan Diego Fl‹rez
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