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Friday, 23 August, 2002, 09:38 GMT 10:38 UK
Tenor erupts in opera storm
Franco Bonisolli
Bonisolli has become known for his temperament
An operatic tenor has stormed off the stage during an outdoor performance in Sicily, yelling abuse at the orchestra and sticking two fingers up at the audience.

Franco Bonisolli, known for his emotionally charged performances and fiery temperament, complained that the performance of Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana was being taken too slowly by the conductor.

He began shouting at the orchestra pit and then, in response to whistling from the audience, stuck two fingers up at them - an insulting gesture in Italy.

Herbert von Karajan
Bonisolli once walked out a von Karajan rehearsal
Mr Bonisolli, who was playing the rogue lover Turiddu, then walked off the stage of the ancient Greek theatre in Taormina, near Mount Etna.

The production's director Enrico Stinchelli said: "They killed Turiddu" - a quote from Cavalleria Rusticana.

"And rightly so," he said in a statement.

Bonisolli will be replaced as Turiddu for the rest of the opera's run.

Antics

The singer, whose style has been compared to popular tenor Mario Lanza, was born in 1938 and won the International Song Contest at Spoleto in 1961.

His past antics have become notorious in the opera world.

In Vienna in 1978 he left the stage in fury during a public rehearsal of Il Trovatore, under Austrian conductor Herbert von Karajan, and abandoned the cast.

It is said that, while singing Il Trovatore in Barcelona, his voice broke on the last high C in the aria Di Quella Pira.

He responded by thrusting his sword into the floor and, approaching the footlights, sang the right note all alone.

He has made no comment on the Sicilian incident.

See also:

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