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Opera performer who tumbled off stage fired

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The word "jump" has been used. This is now a dance story!

Imagine, the most humiliating incident of your young life. You think, nobody noticed. You're dragged on stage to prove that you're all right -- he can't sue, see. He's fine. And then you're fired. Or, Cynical Me says, what a hell of a way to jump start your acting career!

The (NY) Times had a story about it too (well written and amusing; I'd recommend reading this one in full):

An Extra's Unscripted Tumble From the Stage Is Roiling the Met

"Was it a fall? Or more of a leap? Opera fans are gossiping and performers, from the Russian soprano Anna Netrebko to the American bass-baritone Samuel Ramey to extras to orchestra members are still scratching their heads in this latest mystery at the Met, itself no stranger to intrigues onstage and off.

"The vanquished grenadier, Simon Deonarian, a 21-year-old actor hired as a $30-a-day supernumerary, or extra, says he fell in "a freak accident."

"But Joseph Volpe, the Met's general manager, after discussions with Mr. Deonarian and viewings of a videotape of the Thursday night performance, says that he "jumped" after losing his way "because he was overacting." Mr. Deonarian was unhurt but landed on the bow of the assistant principal violinist, Sylvia Danburg, crushing it. He was dismissed from the other nine performances, including Monday night's, which passed uneventfully, to the relief of front-row patrons."


[ February 20, 2002: Message edited by: alexandra ]

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Originally posted by alexandra:

Mr. Deonarian was unhurt but landed on the bow of the assistant principal violinist, Sylvia Danburg, crushing it.


My real sympathies are for Ms Danburg and her "crushed bow"! Many people don't realize how much a really good bow costs and how hard string players may have to search for a bow that really suits their instrument and their technique! A player of sufficient calibre to be the Met Orchestra's Assistant Principal Violinist will most likely be using a bow that costs in the THOUSANDS of dollars (and probably not just a couple of thousand, but many ...) Worse yet she may well have difficulty finding another bow that she's as comfortable with or likes as much. Then again, maybe she was just waiting for an excuse to go out shopping for another one! (My husband is an amateur cellist, and for a while it seemed to me like he shopped for bows the way Imelda shopped for shoes ... Although to be fair, he always traded the old ones in or sold them, so at least we don't have a closet full of them!)

Well, at least he didn't crush the violin! (And I'm glad no one was hurt.)

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I've been trying to figure out how to fall into an orchestra pit and crush the bow of a violin while sparing the violin AND the violinist. smile.gif

Just to be clear, I thought I'd add that the description of the event is a quote from the Times article, not mine smile.gif I didn't want to mislead anyone!

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I think the original writeup of this incident in The Times indicated that the Falling Super landed in some netting that had been strung over part of the orchestra pit. It was quite interesting to read that he'd actually made it past the netting and into the pit itself. Talk about talent.

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It's possible there's more to this than meets the funnybone. A few years ago another super fell off a set at the Met, landed on the stage, and died--also during a performance. The Met, and the Times which usually supports it, may be trying to distance itself from liability by leveling accusations at the super (the Met) and making light of the whole incident (the Times). I've read allegations on other boards that the Met regularly uses sets that are dangerous to sing and move around on. Do the opera buffs here have anything to say on this?

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