January 15, 2018

"Ms. Puertolas says her heart was racing. Then she recalls telling herself: 'I am Gilda. I am not Sabina. Sabina is back at the hotel.' She walked onto the set for the first time."

"Near the end of the first act, Ms. Puertolas stepped up to deliver the opera's most challenging aria, 'Caro nome.' When she finished, the crowd erupted. 'It was absolutely wonderful,' Ms. Rebourg says. Near the end of the three-hour opera, the curtains fell. Ms. Puertolas got a standing ovation, leaving her in tears. After expecting so little from his balcony seat when the substitute was announced, Mr. Darlington was moved by her 'splendid' performance. 'Knowing about her ordeal made it even more poignant.'"

From "An Opera Lost Its Soprano -- It Had 36 Hours to Find Another --- 'Rigoletto' diva's illness was do-or-die opportunity for a fill-in from Madrid" (Wall Street Journal).

21 comments:

Fernandistein said...

"Lead Soprano" does a great version of "Immigrant Song".

tcrosse said...

Kid, you're gonna go out there an understudy, and you're gonna come back a star !

rehajm said...

Tom Brady got his start this way, too.

bagoh20 said...

Three. Hour. Opera.

That should be reserved for serial killers.

EDH said...

A very sympathetic story of an artist performing on three hours notice after English soprano Lucy Crowe fell ill with a throat infection.

That is until you find one of Crowe's gloves and a doll full of pins in Puertolas' Madrid apartment.

David said...

Bravo!

Talent and reputation are quite often misaligned.

In both directions.

Big Mike said...

Article’s behind a paywall. Inspirational story even just reading the excerpt.

Luke Lea said...

Can we hear a snatch of her performance somewhere?

SayAahh said...

A wonderful and moving piece in the last good and honest newspaper.

Luke Lea said...

Here she is doing Rigoletto ten years ago: https://goo.gl/UkkhZU

Khesanh 0802 said...

"Next man up." Even at the opera!

Luke Lea said...

Rigoletto, what a plot:

"Rigoletto is a jester in the court of the Duke of Mantua. He has a hunch-back and he's rather unattractive, but he's good at his job of humiliating the courtiers for the amusement of the Duke. The courtiers, of course, are not amused. The Duke is a ladies man who feels his life would be meaningless if he couldn't chase every skirt he sees. In fact, we learn as the opera begins that he's recently been noticing a young lady every Sunday on her way to church, and he's vowed to have his way with her. What nobody realizes is that the girl is the jester's beloved daughter, Gilda, and that Gilda has seen the Duke every Sunday and is smitten with him. Suddenly Count Monterone appears at court, furious that the Duke has seduced his daughter. Rigoletto ridicules Monterone, the Duke laughs, and Monterone casts an awful curse on both of them. Later, the courtiers discover that Rigoletto is secretly living with Gilda, whom they believe to be his mistress. In an attempt to humiliate Rigoletto, they kidnap Gilda and deliver her to the Duke's bedroom, where she is quite willing to let him have his way with her. Rigoletto returns to the court and reveals to the courtiers' amusement that Gilda is his daughter. Consumed with the desire for revenge, Rigoletto contacts a murderous thief named Sparafucile (who just happens to have a beautiful sister named Maddalena), and he contracts with the two of them to lure the Duke to Sparafucile's tavern on the river where Sparafucile will murder the Duke. Knowing the Duke will find Maddalena irresistible, Rigoletto takes Gilda to stand outside the tavern so she can see for herself that the Duke is not a faithful lover. Gilda is crushed as she looks through the window to see the Duke wooing Maddalena, and at Rigoletto's urging she dons men's clothing so she can return home safely by herself. But she returns to the tavern to overhear Rigoletto and Sparafucile plotting to kill the Duke. Then, after Rigoletto leaves, she hears Maddalena pleading with Sparafucile not to kill the Duke, but instead to kill the first person who comes through the door and give that body to Rigoletto instead. Sparafucile objects that he is an honest thief and murderer, but Maddalena's entreaties win him over and he agrees to the plan. Gilda now realizes what she must do: she knocks on the door, enters the tavern and is stabbed (nearly) to death by Sparafucile. The thief then wraps her in a rug and drops her body through a trap door to Rigoletto, who is waiting in a boat below. Thinking he has won vengeance at last on the Duke, Rigoletto paddles onto the river to dispose of the body. Then he hears the Duke singing in the distance, opens the rug, and to his horror he discovers his almost-dead daughter. They sing a heartbreaking duet, Gilda dies, and the wretched Rigoletto wails that the curse has come to pass."

tcrosse said...

Rigoletto, what a plot:

Thanks to Victor Hugo, Le Roi S'amuse.

mockturtle said...

The stuff of legends!

Luke Lea said...

Here is the complete opera: https://goo.gl/eYUV3C #MeToo

Comanche Voter said...

You can see some amazing physical performances if you watch or go to the opera often enough.Sometimes the singers are in fine voice and command of the audience and sometimes they are not. But when they are at the top of their game (I remember watching the late Yoko Watanabe singing Cio Cio San in Madame Butterfly in San Diego) they can own the audience.

It's an expensive art form, but it can create wonderful memories--both good and bad.

James K said...

Great story, though not unusual on the opera world. Rigoletto is one of my two or three favorites, though the latest Met production is a travesty (set in Vegas in the 60s).

Clyde said...

A great example of professionalism and grace under pressure.

Gahrie said...

they can own the audience.

Want to see someone own an audience?

https://youtu.be/si8ZNuG4xK8

The absolute silence when he finishes says it all.

Auntie Trump said...

Rigoletto, what a plot:

I never would have been able to resist “Rigoletto libretto,” it’s a sorry vice.

Chuck said...

I love these stories and I missed this one in my Journal subscription. I am so grateful to Althouse for posting it.

There is another one, if anyone is interested. A famous lunch concert of the Concertgebouw, led by Riccardo Chailly, and it was to feature Maria João Pires as soloist for a Mozart Piano Concerto.

She took her place at the Piano, and the orchestra began playing the opening bars; and she realized that she had prepared the wrong Mozart Concerto; a completely different piece of music. And she signaled (at first with a face palm) that she was onstage to play a different concerto. But Chailly (beloved by most orchestras he works with) pressed on, and she played it from memory. And since it was recorded on video, it has become legend:

http://www.classicfm.com/artists/maria-joao-pires/guides/wrong-piano-concerto/