Saturday, April 18, 2009

Helicopter Scarpia

What happens when your star baritone singing Scarpia cancels just a few hours before the performance and there is no cover to step in???

This is what happened on the 16th of April in Zurich when Thomas Hampson had to cancel due to a throat infection and no other singer in the district was available.

The solution came from Torino and it's name was Lucio Gallo.

Since there were no flights available, Gallo hired a car with a driver and was off to Zurich but around 17.00 he had to call for "rescue".

Due to the extreme traffic Gallo would not be on time so the Zurich Opernhaus just sent him a... helicopter.

Gallo landed in Zurich safely and the performance began with only 15 minutes of delay.


yappy said...

... with 15 minutes' delay and a very frustrated me who had travelled down there just to see Mr. H. as Scarpia. Gallo was very charming about it all, delivered a rather spontaneous Italian macho Scarpia, got big ovations and shook the prompter's hand during curtain calls.

Extra props to the announcer who did a rethoric masterpiece leaving the audience applauding wildly instead of throwing things. ;-)

Parsifal said...

I hate it when it happens!

Tell us more about it!!!!

yappy said...

And it had to happen to me on the very first time I did such a thing. Not that I can do it again in the near future, I don't have that kind of money.
I wrote up a confused stream-of-consciousness review on the ride home, not sure if I'll post it.
Anyway, there was a sort of let's-see-if-they'll-rock-it atmosphere, like everybody was having fun trying out this experiment. There also was a TV crew, which was to return for tonight's performance. I don't know if Hampson sang this one or if they decided to play it safe for TV and DVD and have Gallo on both of them.
Kaufmann was absolutely adorable, but - due to circumstances? - playing a bit too much for laughs, Magee also had a very pleasant voice, orchestra was fine, very engaging conducting from Carignani, brilliant cello quartet in Act 3. Quite a lot of subtlety was probably lost because of non-rehearsedness. All in all there were warm, honest vibes, sorry Mr. Carson, though I did like the staging, if you wanted to pull a Brecht, it didn't work. ;-)