Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

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Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by Lance » Sat Oct 25, 2008 7:29 pm

All of us have had, I'm sure, some experience viewing/listening to a live concert when the soloist or performing artist HAD to stop for one reason or another. We honestly feel badly for the artist when this happens, but it's life. It's bound to happen. Would you relate your experience here? Having worked in a univeresity environment with students, sometimes this happens and no one thinks anything about it. But a professional recital or concert ... it's unexpected.

I have four very vivid memories of this happening.

Here's one:

Once during a live performance Puccini's Messa di Gloria, there was a golden-voiced tenor who was locally known for his beautiful voice. In the first section where the tenor appears, after rendering us a few absolutely beautiful and golden tones, standing by himself, the orchestra accompanying magnificently, suddenly he stopped singing. I was sitting very close, second row, and could see the conductor. The back of his neck suddenly went bright red. He looked over at his wife, who was the concertmistress, and kept nodding her head to him to "keep going," which he did, thankfully. Everyone knew something was radically wrong. He was able to sing through some of the rest of it but it was obvious he was "scared to death." After the concert, people went to congratulate him nonetheless, but he disappeared — went home from embarrassment. [I probably would have done the same.] What we heard of the voice, however, was absolutely stunning. I happened to know the tenor, but I heard later that the conductor was "warned" that this might happen in performance. It was a chance the conductor took and his forewarning became an actuality.
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by Chalkperson » Sat Oct 25, 2008 7:35 pm

I was at this Arthur Fiedler Concert, Horowitz was on Piano, Dame Joan Sutherland was the Soloist and.......Luckily it was only a Dream... :lol:
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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by Chosen Barley » Sat Oct 25, 2008 7:52 pm

May I relate an instance where the performer chose not exactly to cease performing, but to cease to know the words.

It was Frederica von Stade, giving a recital, singing "voi, che sapete" [ is this the right spelling] and she lost her words. Just plum forgot 'em! So she did la la la la la till she regained her memory of the words. Ah, her voice was very nice, anyway. :)
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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by Lance » Sat Oct 25, 2008 8:21 pm

ImageI see ... Fiedler was conducting his Massachusetts Pops, and Horowitz was at his famous Baldwin concert grand chopping away, with Dame Joan Sutherland crooning away in her highest coloratura voice. It must have been a Puccini aria where the piano is used in the orchestral accompaniment. Or was it the Dittersdorf Alleluia for Soprano, Piano and Orchestra, Op. 2,271, one of Dittersdorf's major works that lay dormant until the Fielder/Horowitz/Sutherland ensemble resurrected it? Geez Chalkie, please tell us more. Was it recorded? But, oh! You said it was a "dream," but you know what Chalkie, maybe it wasn't ... you only think it was—or wished it was!
Chalkperson wrote:I was at this Arthur Fiedler Concert, Horowitz was on Piano, Dame Joan Sutherland was the Soloist and.......Luckily it was only a Dream... :lol:
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by Ralph » Sat Oct 25, 2008 9:25 pm

Well, the worst was a Met performance of "The Makropoulos Case" where early in the opera the lead tenor, on a ladder, suffered a fatal heart attack and crashed to the stage.

Less serious was a performance of a Westchester chorale under the late Lyndon Woodside that my then girlfriend was in. They were performing a new work by, I believe, the late Luther Henderson, a four-movement symphony or tone poem. As the orchestra got well into the second movement, Mr. Henderson stood up in the audience and loudly called for Mr. Woodside to stop the performance. He said that the conductor had the second and third movements reversed. There was palpable embarrassment, some quick rearranging and the performance restarted.
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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by Lance » Sat Oct 25, 2008 9:28 pm

OMG! Imagine such a thing! The ... nerve ... it took for Mr. Henderson to stand up. No doubt he wanted his work performed in the proper sequence. That seems like an error that should never occur! Didn't Henderson and Woodside communicate at the outset?
Ralph wrote:Well, the worst was a Met performance of "The Makropoulos Case" where early in the opera the lead tenor, on a ladder, suffered a fatal heart attack and crashed to the stage.

Less serious was a performance of a Westchester chorale under the late Lyndon Woodside that my then girlfriend was in. They were performing a new work by, I believe, the late Luther Henderson, a four-movement symphony or tone poem. As the orchestra got well into the second movement, Mr. Henderson stood up in the audience and loudly called for Mr. Woodside to stop the performance. He said that the conductor had the second and third movements reversed. There was palpable embarrassment, some quick rearranging and the performance restarted.
Lance G. Hill
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______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by Chalkperson » Sat Oct 25, 2008 9:40 pm

The Late Great Guiseppi Sinopoli suffered a Fatal Heart Attack whilst Conducting Aida...The Late and Even Greater Kirill Kondrashin died after Conducting Mahlers 1st Symphony...
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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by John F » Sat Oct 25, 2008 10:21 pm

Another Metropolitan Opera event that stopped the show: I was at an otherwise unmemorable performance of "La Traviata" (the conductor was Richard Woitach, which gives you an idea) when during the Act 2 duet, the house lights came up and the curtain closed while the performance was still going on. Woitach looked up and stopped conducting and behind the curtain, Edita Gruberova and Wolfgang Brendel stopped singing. I looked down into the auditorium and saw a man lying in the aisle with another kneeling over him, then a gurney was wheeled down to carry him away. The house lights dimmed, the curtain opened on Gruberova and Brendel, and the performance resumed a few bars before the point at which it was interrupted.

Turned out the man had a heart attack. His neighbor, in the aisle seat, went to tell an usher who got the Met's house doctor in attendance. He called the emergency service, got the stricken man onto the aisle floor and tried to revive him. I heard the next day that the patient died in the hospital.

The Met annals do not record any of this in their entry for the performance. It was on October 31, 1989 - anniversary coming up this week.

Well, at least I wasn't there when a guy committed suicide during an intermission of "Macbeth" by jumping from the Family Circle, so of course the performance couldn't continue. This one you can look up: it was January 23, 1988. The performance was being broadcast, and I wish I'd been listening to hear what Peter Allen told the international audience.
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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by Werner » Sat Oct 25, 2008 10:35 pm

I may have told this story before - if yiu've seen it, you're free to tune out.

It was 1945-46 - my father and I were at Carnegie Hall for the Philharmonic's Sunday broadcast concert. The conductor was Rodzinsky. Artur Schnabel was the soloist in Mozart's Piano Concerto in A, K 488. All went well through the first and second movements - but midway through the third, things came to a dead stop. A memory slip, evidently. Mr. Schnabel rose with dignity, looked at the conductor's score. and they continued to the end.

The audience applauded until they repeated the third movement.
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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by Lance » Sun Oct 26, 2008 1:01 am

Very interesting stories, John Francis! Funny you mention Richard Woitach. He is from my home area — Binghamton, NY — and I have prepared pianos for him, one, as I recall, was for the dedication of a new Baldwin grand piano for a church wherein he collaborated with Leonard Raver, the organist - in joint recital in the dedication. Do you know much of Woitach's work? I believe he is no longer with the Met, retired. And might you remember who portrayed Violetta in that performance?
John F wrote:Another Metropolitan Opera event that stopped the show: I was at an otherwise unmemorable performance of "La Traviata" (the conductor was Richard Woitach, which gives you an idea) when during the Act 2 duet, the house lights came up and the curtain closed while the performance was still going on. Woitach looked up and stopped conducting and behind the curtain, Edita Gruberova and Wolfgang Brendel stopped singing. I looked down into the auditorium and saw a man lying in the aisle with another kneeling over him, then a gurney was wheeled down to carry him away. The house lights dimmed, the curtain opened on Gruberova and Brendel, and the performance resumed a few bars before the point at which it was interrupted.

Turned out the man had a heart attack. His neighbor, in the aisle seat, went to tell an usher who got the Met's house doctor in attendance. He called the emergency service, got the stricken man onto the aisle floor and tried to revive him. I heard the next day that the patient died in the hospital.

The Met annals do not record any of this in their entry for the performance. It was on October 31, 1989 - anniversary coming up this week.

Well, at least I wasn't there when a guy committed suicide during an intermission of "Macbeth" by jumping from the Family Circle, so of course the performance couldn't continue. This one you can look up: it was January 23, 1988. The performance was being broadcast, and I wish I'd been listening to hear what Peter Allen told the international audience.
Lance G. Hill
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______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by Lance » Sun Oct 26, 2008 1:10 am

I don't recall hearing this account from you before, Werner. These great artists are human beings, of course, and are vulnerable to memory lapses just like us! (More frequent for me these days.) It's difficult to even imagine Schnabel doing this, however.

I have a piano story, too. (I have many, in fact!) I had just concert-prepared a not-very-good Steinway "D" that came in from another city. It really was not a good station instrument, but I did what I could to make it concertworthy. The artist was going to play two performances of Rachmaninoff's Third Piano Concerto. Always on hand, not only in case of an emergency, I always stay for the performances. Not once, but TWICE, the artist had a very bad memory slip both days, same place. If the conductor had not been a pianist himself, I'm sure the performance would have come to a standstill. It didn't. The artist who performed still communicates with me, still makes many recordings, and, fortunately, the piano technician was NOT blamed for a bad performance (as they sometimes are). In the Rach 3, if you pull a boner there, you're in deep ... doo-doo! The orchestra went one way, the piano another, and I HELD MY BREATH. Fortunately, everything ended quite positively. It was an otherwise most memorable performance.
Werner wrote:I may have told this story before - if yiu've seen it, you're free to tune out.

It was 1945-46 - my father and I were at Carnegie Hall for the Philharmonic's Sunday broadcast concert. The conductor was Rodzinsky. Artur Schnabel was the soloist in Mozart's Piano Concerto in A, K 488. All went well through the first and second movements - but midway through the third, things came to a dead stop. A memory slip, evidently. Mr. Schnabel rose with dignity, looked at the conductor's score. and they continued to the end.

The audience applauded until they repeated the third movement.
Lance G. Hill
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______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by John F » Sun Oct 26, 2008 5:40 am

Lance wrote:Very interesting stories, John Francis! Funny you mention Richard Woitach. He is from my home area — Binghamton, NY — and I have prepared pianos for him, one, as I recall, was for the dedication of a new Baldwin grand piano for a church wherein he collaborated with Leonard Raver, the organist - in joint recital in the dedication. Do you know much of Woitach's work? I believe he is no longer with the Met, retired.
Yes, Richard Woitach has long since retired from the Met, though as far as I know he was still alive. I understand he was invaluable there as a coach, assistant conductor, and standby in case the scheduled conductor couldn't go on. His conducting didn't do much for me, I'm afraid, in performances such as this "Traviata," a "Fidelio," and maybe one or two others, sure-handed but rather pedestrian. I was introduced to him when he paid my boss a visit - seemed an affable fellow.
Lance wrote:Might you remember who portrayed Violetta in that performance?
John F wrote:Woitach looked up and stopped conducting and behind the curtain, Edita Gruberova and Wolfgang Brendel stopped singing.
I just came across the New York Times's report of the happening, and it says that doctors in the audience were the first to attempt to revive the 70-year-old man until the house doctor got to him, and the ambulance arrived and took him away after 20 minutes. He had a pulse when he left the house but died in the hospital.
Werner wrote:The conductor was Rodzinsky. Artur Schnabel was the soloist in Mozart's Piano Concerto in A, K 488. All went well through the first and second movements - but midway through the third, things came to a dead stop. A memory slip, evidently. Mr. Schnabel rose with dignity, looked at the conductor's score. and they continued to the end.
Schnabel suffered another memory lapse in a Philharmonic performance of Beethoven's 3rd concerto with Georg Szell conducting. Don't know whether they encored the movement.

Schnabel is said always to have played from the music, to have made a point of it, but evidently this was not so - not always, anyway.
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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by Ricordanza » Sun Oct 26, 2008 5:53 am

On January 16, 2001, pianist Louis Lortie's Philadelphia recital featured all the Chopin Etudes. However, during the first Etude, a cell phone went off, and Lortie was completely thrown off. Visibly annoyed, he stopped playing and, a few moments later, played the Etude from the beginning.

Every recital since that time under the auspices of the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society begins with an announcement from the stage to turn off cell phones.

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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by John F » Sun Oct 26, 2008 6:53 am

Andras Schiff was playing one of Bach's French Suites in a recital at Lincoln Center when a cell phone went off in the front row - playing the opening theme of Mozart's Symphony #40. Schiff finished the piece, apparently unruffled, and after intermission the house manager came onto the platform telling the audience to turn their bleepers off. (My choice of words.)
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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by maestrob » Sun Oct 26, 2008 9:02 am

In the middle 1980's, when I was running the clothing store in the New York Athletic Club, I had two of my clients performing at the MET in La Boheme: Nello Santi and Mario Sereni. Happily, my wife & I were invited to a performance, but not so happily, there was a blizzard that night, and the audience was only 2/3 full.

In the beginning of Act I, when they start the fire with Schaunard's play, the stove actually caught on FIRE! The performance continued as smoke billowed from the stove, and while poor Sereni removed his cloak and stuffed it into the stove to try to tamp out the fire, there suddenly appeared a greatly intimidated young stagehand through the doorway, who proceeded (without a word or glance at the 2000+ of us sitting on the edge of our seats) to subdue the flames with a fire extinguisher. Naturally, Santi stopped conducting, the audience let loose with a roar of approval, and the young man scurried away with a wave!

AS the smoke disippated up into the rafters, Santi calmly picked up the baton and resumed the performance where it had stopped.

The next day, Mario Sereni stopped by to see me to commiserate, and the first words out of his mouth were "Wasna me! Wasna me!"

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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by Lance » Sun Oct 26, 2008 9:14 am

These are so fascinating - human interest stories - and one can envision all these things in the mind's eye. Someone should compile a book called "Concert Bloopers!" I'm sure it would be easy to cull all these stories, verify them, and have a good seller. Please keep them coming.
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by Lance » Sun Oct 26, 2008 9:23 am

Soprano Patricia Brooks (now deceased) was in Binghamton to give a recital at the university. It was a terrible, blustery and snowy day, but people came out nonetheless. Unfortunately, Brook's accompanist never made it because of the weather. One of the university professors [Phillip Friedheim, also deceased] was summoned to act as the accompanist. He did not do a very good job having to play a demanding program with no practice or rehearsal. During one of the numbers, Miss Brooks lost her breath completely, stopped, grabbed her chest, saying she was out of breath and apologized to the audience profusely, who loved her all the more! I was there to see this. No doubt, all these conditions, including the lack of her regular accompanist, caused the situation. But she had a stunning voice, which was obvious.
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by Lance » Sun Oct 26, 2008 9:27 am

I may have relayed this story before, but I never forgot it. I was very young at the time, and my parents took me to see a recital of pianist Paul Badura-Skoda. While at the piano playing, he suddenly had to sneeze — a loud one as I recall — and his hands never came off the keyboard; he never missed a beat. Now, that's musicianship, eh? [I don't remember which way the germs flew, but I don't think it was in the audience's direction, thankfully.]
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by Lance » Sun Oct 26, 2008 9:31 am

Who was it who was singing an opera - and a front crown came off (one of the Bucky Beaver front teeth) and fell to the stage floor - leaving a gaping hole in the singer's mouth. For some reason, I believe it was Dame J. S., but don't recall for sure. HOW EMBARRASSING! Not only that, but I would imagine it would be hard to sing with that big hole, and vocal air moving more swiftly through the mouth, not to mention having an affect on one's diction. Does anyone recall the facts behind this story?
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by maestrob » Sun Oct 26, 2008 9:37 am

While we're on the subject:

Again during the middle 1980's, when Eva Podles was making her MET debut with Marilyn Horne in Handel's Rinaldo......

Horne's entrance was to be on the prow of a ship some 15-20 feet high from offstage, and she was to enter singing. Well, somehow the prow of the ship got off its lateral moorings, and slowly collapsed downward backstage! As the ship collapsed, Horne kept on singing, and she emerged from behind the flattened ship rolling out her trills & roulades to thunderous applause, all the while not skipping a beat!

Magnificent!

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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by Lance » Sun Oct 26, 2008 9:58 am

It was probably two years ago, but Woitach and I spent considerable time on the telephone as he was scheduling a return to Binghamton to play a solo piano recital. I was in contact with him about his repertoire as I would be writing the program and notes for him, and preparing a piano for him. Alas, illness didn't allow for that recital to occur. Near as I know, his wife ran some kind of book store in NYC, and I had to occasion to talk with her as well.

Woitach has quite a few recordings. These are some that I have:

  • CBC 2024 - recital with Jon Vickers (live recital, Edmonton, Alberta]
  • CMC-Centredisc - Canadian art songs with Jon Vickers.
  • Elektra-Nonesuch 79019 - Kurt Weill songs with Teresa Stratas.
  • Guild 7244 - Song recital with bass Kevin Maynor.
  • Lumar 101 - song and aria recital with Lucine Amara.
  • Myto 022.262 - Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor (complete) w/Sills, Gedda, Flagello, Woitach conducting (live Met, 1977)
  • VAI 1032 - live recital with Jon Vickers, NYC, 1967.
  • Sony 60784 - recital material with Regina Resnik, Woitach, piano.
Indeed, quite an affable fellow and most interesting to talk with, reminiscing about times past.[/color]
John F wrote:Yes, Richard Woitach has long since retired from the Met, though as far as I know he was still alive. I understand he was invaluable there as a coach, assistant conductor, and standby in case the scheduled conductor couldn't go on. His conducting didn't do much for me, I'm afraid, in performances such as this "Traviata," a "Fidelio," and maybe one or two others, sure-handed but rather pedestrian. I was introduced to him when he paid my boss a visit - seemed an affable fellow.
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by Ralph » Sun Oct 26, 2008 1:10 pm

John F wrote:Another Metropolitan Opera event that stopped the show: I was at an otherwise unmemorable performance of "La Traviata" (the conductor was Richard Woitach, which gives you an idea) when during the Act 2 duet, the house lights came up and the curtain closed while the performance was still going on. Woitach looked up and stopped conducting and behind the curtain, Edita Gruberova and Wolfgang Brendel stopped singing. I looked down into the auditorium and saw a man lying in the aisle with another kneeling over him, then a gurney was wheeled down to carry him away. The house lights dimmed, the curtain opened on Gruberova and Brendel, and the performance resumed a few bars before the point at which it was interrupted.

Turned out the man had a heart attack. His neighbor, in the aisle seat, went to tell an usher who got the Met's house doctor in attendance. He called the emergency service, got the stricken man onto the aisle floor and tried to revive him. I heard the next day that the patient died in the hospital.

The Met annals do not record any of this in their entry for the performance. It was on October 31, 1989 - anniversary coming up this week.

Well, at least I wasn't there when a guy committed suicide during an intermission of "Macbeth" by jumping from the Family Circle, so of course the performance couldn't continue. This one you can look up: it was January 23, 1988. The performance was being broadcast, and I wish I'd been listening to hear what Peter Allen told the international audience.
*****

In that incident, the police did not permit the performance to continue since it was a possible homicide. The Family Circle now has signs prohibiting jumping.
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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by TopoGigio » Sun Oct 26, 2008 1:13 pm

Weeell,,,it was eons ago,,,at the old and sinister Big**Theater.
In the darknesss,a seat was empty among a kynky girl and young Topo.Then a man
was there.After a while,a magnificent PLAF on the face of the man and the magnificent
words "Go to * your Sister!",,,Then he was out,silent.
A few later,at an interminable intermission,all was full-light for a very long intermission,
and everybody look at the kynky girl and young Topo :oops:
Both were stone-still and full-pride ignoring the public.There was Rules then.
Last edited by TopoGigio on Mon Oct 27, 2008 4:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by Chosen Barley » Sun Oct 26, 2008 1:15 pm

This may not be as disastrous as so many of the events related here, but since Lance mentioned Dame J.S... in the 1970s I attended a recital she gave; as she entered & walked across the stage to the piano in her quite voluminous gown, she caused to rise into the air a cloud of dust that, thankfully, didn't quite make it as far as her head. This was no little dust bunny; it appeared that the stage had not been swept in about 6 months! :shock: (not unlike some of the rooms in our house). Back & forth, back & forth, as she entered & exited there arose this mass. The reviewer in the newspaper made mention of this, scolding muchly.
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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by Febnyc » Sun Oct 26, 2008 1:29 pm

I read about - did not witness - not a "stopping" of a performance, but an unusual finale.

A not-to-be-named soprano was known for her difficult personality and for berating all around her during rehearsals. She was disliked not only by her on-stage colleagues, but also by the staff of the opera house.

During the last act of her Tosca, the stagehands, to avenge her abuse of them throughout, unbeknownst to the soprano, placed behind the parapets of the Castel Sant'Angelo not a cushioned-mattress, which normally is used, but a trampoline surface. When our anonymous Diva cried out, "O Scarpia, avanti a Dio, " and leapt to her death - instead of disappearing behind the set, she was flung back above it, arms flailing - not once, but twice, before she finally settled to earth. The audience, as you might imagine, was startled to see this Tosca popping up again over the fortress walls.

I would have loved to have been there.

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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by John F » Sun Oct 26, 2008 2:33 pm

This story has been told and retold with many different sopranos' names plugged into it, so I doubt that it really happened. It should have, though.
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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by Febnyc » Sun Oct 26, 2008 2:50 pm

If I recall correctly, 'twas Eva Turner who admitted to being the flouncing Floria.

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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by Guitarist » Sun Oct 26, 2008 6:48 pm

I attended the 2006 Christopher Parkening Guitar Competition (with a first prize of $50,000, it's a biggie!) and Robert Belenic, who was favored to win, just went blank during Rodrigo's Conceirto de Aranjuez in the final round. He tried faking for a few moments, stopped, got up, and looked at the conductor's score. They picked a point and started from there. Sadly, the rest of the piece was pock-marked by little memory slips, too. Needless to say, he didn't win! A few months ago he played a flawless recital here in Davis, so ya' never know what's going to happen at any given moment!

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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by Lance » Sun Oct 26, 2008 6:58 pm

When reading Frank's (Febnyc) post, my initial thought was: "He must be referring to Kathleen Battle!"
Febnyc wrote:If I recall correctly, 'twas Eva Turner who admitted to being the flouncing Floria.
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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by Lance » Sun Oct 26, 2008 7:00 pm

Ah - competitions! They are really big-time ball-breakers! Nerves are a funny thing. When you life is on the line, even if you know your stuff, the mind plays big tricks. Too bad about Robert Belencic, but apparently he's jumped that hoop and continues his career.
Guitarist wrote:I attended the 2006 Christopher Parkening Guitar Competition (with a first prize of $50,000, it's a biggie!) and Robert Belenic, who was favored to win, just went blank during Rodrigo's Conceirto de Aranjuez in the final round. He tried faking for a few moments, stopped, got up, and looked at the conductor's score. They picked a point and started from there. Sadly, the rest of the piece was pock-marked by little memory slips, too. Needless to say, he didn't win! A few months ago he played a flawless recital here in Davis, so ya' never know what's going to happen at any given moment!
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by ch1525 » Sun Oct 26, 2008 10:52 pm

Lance wrote:When reading Frank's (Febnyc) post, my initial thought was: "He must be referring to Kathleen Battle!"
Febnyc wrote:If I recall correctly, 'twas Eva Turner who admitted to being the flouncing Floria.
Same here, Lance! Some juicy stuff about that bit$& in Joe Volpe's book.

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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by Lance » Sun Oct 26, 2008 11:49 pm

Hey Chad ... we read the same books! Indeed, some very juicy stuff in Volpe's book!
ch1525 wrote:
Lance wrote:When reading Frank's (Febnyc) post, my initial thought was: "He must be referring to Kathleen Battle!"
Febnyc wrote:If I recall correctly, 'twas Eva Turner who admitted to being the flouncing Floria.
Same here, Lance! Some juicy stuff about that bit$& in Joe Volpe's book.
Lance G. Hill
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______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by Scott Morrison » Mon Oct 27, 2008 5:09 am

I have two stories, both related to the musician being drunk. The first was of a famous violinist, whose name I withhold to protect the guilty, who was playing the Brahms violin concerto. He came in in the second movement playing a different concerto. The performance ground to a halt and there was a hurried huddle of conductor and soloist and eventually they started up again playing the same piece.

The second incident was that of an orchestral first trumpet player seated on a riser with his section mates, who, I later heard, was drunk and fell off his chair, plummeted the two feet to the stage, smashed his instrument. We later learned that the same sort of thing had happend with him when he was in a different Big Five orchestra.

Finally, my own story. I was playing an organ offertory one Sunday when one of my hard contact lenses popped out and fell into the pedal board. I was on pins and needles until after the service (during the remainder of which I'd used as little pedal as possible) and I could remove the pedal board and find the luckily uninjured lens.
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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by diegobueno » Mon Oct 27, 2008 7:08 am

My most interesting "stop the performance" moment happened during a performance of Malcolm Williamson's opera Our Man in Havana which I saw during my student days. Based on a novel by Graham Greene, the opera involves spies, espionage and secret murders. At one point, when the going was particularly intense, as the characters see people around them mysteriously disappearing and realize there's a real conspiracy going on, the house lights went up and a voice on the intercom announced there was a bomb threat and that people should evacuate the building immediately. The performance continued for about 15 seconds as this was happening, and it took that long for me, and probably the rest of the audience, to realize that this announcement was not part of the opera. It was such a surreal moment, as the action on stage segued seamlessly to reality.

That was the end of that evening's performance. It did not continue to the end. Fortunately I was able to get to see the next evening's performance. I really enjoyed this opera, and wish I could see it staged again.

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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by Beckmesser » Mon Oct 27, 2008 9:09 am

Last season's run of Tristan und Isolde at the Met was plagued by bad luck. Ben Heppner, who had been scheduled to sing Tristan, missed most of the performances because of illness. One evening Deborah Voigt was taken ill in the middle of Act II and had to be replaced by her cover. I attended a performance in which tenor Gary Lehman substituted for Heppner. Disaster struck at the beginning of Act III.

In the Met's current production of Tristan Act III opens with the wounded Tristan lying on a mat upstage. During the prelude the mat slides slowly down the steeply raked stage toward the prompter's box. About half-way down the stage Tristan's bed suddenly hurtled forward and Lehman crashed into the prompter's box headfirst. Members of the audience gasped. Maestro Levine stopped conducting. Lehman appeared dazed at first and after a few seconds a stage assistant came out and helped him off the stage as the curtain came down. After ten minutes or so it was announced that Lehman had been examined by the house doctor and would continue the performance.

I have to give this guy credit. It must have taken some nerve to suffer that kind of accident and then go on to sing one of the most punishing roles in opera for any singer (Act III is Tristan's big act). I understand that Lehman had never sung this role in an opera house before, had never seen the Met production, and didn't even have the benefit of a rehearsal. A stage assistant walked him through the action beforehand.

I thought he did a terrific job under difficult circumstances and the audience was very appreciative.

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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Oct 28, 2008 2:12 am

Febnyc wrote:I read about - did not witness - not a "stopping" of a performance, but an unusual finale.

A not-to-be-named soprano was known for her difficult personality and for berating all around her during rehearsals. She was disliked not only by her on-stage colleagues, but also by the staff of the opera house.

During the last act of her Tosca, the stagehands, to avenge her abuse of them throughout, unbeknownst to the soprano, placed behind the parapets of the Castel Sant'Angelo not a cushioned-mattress, which normally is used, but a trampoline surface. When our anonymous Diva cried out, "O Scarpia, avanti a Dio, " and leapt to her death - instead of disappearing behind the set, she was flung back above it, arms flailing - not once, but twice, before she finally settled to earth. The audience, as you might imagine, was startled to see this Tosca popping up again over the fortress walls.

I would have loved to have been there.
If memory serves that tale leads off Hugh Vicker's Great Operatic Disasters. The entire slim volume had me in stiches.

If I don't have to have witnessed the event, because I can't think of ever having noticed a "stop the production" moment, I do recall a couple I've heard/read:

1. The opera director hired a platoon of high school kids to play the firing squad in Tosca, but he was too busy to tell them what they were supposed to do. Finally just before the curtain ran up on the opening night, they asked, and he told them quickly. When one of them asked, "where do we exit?", he dismissed them with "exit with the principals." So when Floria Tosca went over the parapet, they followed right behind her.

2. Robert Merrill tells the story of a Met Tour Tosca performance wherein the Scarpia dropped Tosca flat on her bum just before she was to launch into Visi d'arte, knocking the breath out of her. She managed to struggle thru it. The next performance, bent on revenge, Tosca had found a crucifix weighing 5 or so lbs at a second-hand store, and she substituted it for the prop. When came time for her to place the crucifix on the dead Scarpia's chest, she dropped it on his privates, upon which he sat bolt upright in pain.

3. Merrill tells of when he was callow youth covering Amonasro for a baritone much larger in girth than he was. One night, he got the call to take the role, and donned the loin cloth made to fit the much bigger guy. When he made his entrance and opened his mouth, his loin cloth went south and huddled around his ankles. Boxers or briefs?
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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by GK » Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:43 am

During a performance of the Brahms 2nd concerto with David Zinman and the Baltimore SO, Garrick Ohlssen's piano bench leaked hydraulic fluid. The bench gradually lowered as liquid spilled on the floor. As soon as they realized what was happening the music stopped. The mess was cleaned up, a new bench was provided, and they replayed the concerto from the beginning.

A famous on stage death was Leonard Warren's collapse after singing the baritone aria in the Met's production of "La Forza del Destino" in the 1950's. The curtain came down and the show did NOT go on.

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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by stenka razin » Tue Oct 28, 2008 12:12 pm

Sir Malcolm Sargent stopping the Royal Philharmonic during the first movement of the Sibelius 1st Symphony to castigate those arriving late and interrupting his train of thought.
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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by THEHORN » Wed Oct 29, 2008 9:31 am

I was playing in an orchestra on Long Island, and during a performance of the Schumann piano concerto in the final movement, a pianist whose name I don't remember, but who is or was on the faculty of Brooklyn college, had a memory lapse, and went offstage to check the score. The performance resumed and concluded without incident. The audience gave him a very warm response, and he handled the situattion like a real pro.

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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by Donald Isler » Wed Oct 29, 2008 10:06 am

I asked Artur Schnabel's granddaughter about John Francis' understanding that Schnabel usually performed with the score in front of him. She replied:

"I sincerely doubt that the info about my grandfather performing using the music is true. My father had told me that he, i.e. AS, was the one who started the practice of playing without the music!! -- I have noticed that more and more pianists have the scores in front of them now."
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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by Lance » Thu Oct 30, 2008 12:11 am

THEHORN wrote:I was playing in an orchestra on Long Island, and during a performance of the Schumann piano concerto in the final movement, a pianist whose name I don't remember, but who is or was on the faculty of Brooklyn college, had a memory lapse, and went offstage to check the score. The performance resumed and concluded without incident. The audience gave him a very warm response, and he handled the situattion like a real pro.
This pianist had a lot of ... fortitude ... to be able to do this. I applaud him. It illustrates the human side. Anybody/everybody is vulnerable. It has to be hugely embarrassing, nonetheless.
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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by Lance » Thu Oct 30, 2008 12:13 am

I can't blame the maestro one bit. The ushers should never have permitted the doors to be opened until the conclusion of (at least) that movement. Stokowski would also castigate concert-goers for such things.
stenka razin wrote:Sir Malcolm Sargent stopping the Royal Philharmonic during the first movement of the Sibelius 1st Symphony to castigate those arriving late and interrupting his train of thought.
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by Lance » Thu Oct 30, 2008 12:22 am

I have that Vickers book and must read it again. I don't recall these stories, but you had me in stitches just reading about it. See my comments in red, below within your text.
Corlyss_D wrote:If memory serves that tale leads off Hugh Vicker's Great Operatic Disasters. The entire slim volume had me in stiches.

If I don't have to have witnessed the event, because I can't think of ever having noticed a "stop the production" moment, I do recall a couple I've heard/read:

{snipped}

2. Robert Merrill tells the story of a Met Tour Tosca performance wherein the Scarpia dropped Tosca flat on her bum just before she was to launch into Visi d'arte, knocking the breath out of her. She managed to struggle thru it. The next performance, bent on revenge, Tosca had found a crucifix weighing 5 or so lbs at a second-hand store, and she substituted it for the prop. When came time for her to place the crucifix on the dead Scarpia's chest, she dropped it on his privates, upon which he sat bolt upright in pain. OUCH! I can feel the pain. What a thing to do, but maybe he deserved it after all!

3. Merrill tells of when he was callow youth covering Amonasro for a baritone much larger in girth than he was. One night, he got the call to take the role, and donned the loin cloth made to fit the much bigger guy. When he made his entrance and opened his mouth, his loin cloth went south and huddled around his ankles. Boxers or briefs?
Did anybody ever find out ... boxers or briefs? What would be an audience reaction to such an event? It would have to be pure, loud laughter!
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: Your most unusual "stopping" during a live concert!

Post by TopoGigio » Thu Oct 30, 2008 6:09 pm

I extracted the music of Ercole su''Termodonte of Vivaldi by Alan Curtis,,,
I dont want every time the naked guy,,, :)

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