Page last updated at 10:58 GMT, Tuesday, 7 July 2009 11:58 UK

Opera show goes on after fracture

Joyce DiDonato
Joyce DiDonato injured herself on the production's opening night

Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato will perform in a wheelchair in the Royal Opera House's The Barber of Seville after fracturing her leg on stage.

The US singer was playing Rosina in Rossini's opera on Saturday night when she slipped in the first act.

Thinking she had just hurt her ankle, she carried on performing for another three hours until the end of the opera.

DiDonato, who will perform again on Tuesday night, said that no-one must tell her to "break a leg".

'Hair-raising improvising'

Writing in her blog, she said: "After falling down and breaking my fibia", she had "hobbled my way" through the production with the help of a crutch and a walking stick.

"Apparently this kind of injury requires absolutely no weight to be put on to it, so I'm crossing my fingers that not too much damage was done," she said.

Joyce DiDonato
From here on out, I declare that no-one, please, ever, ever, ever, wish me again, in the American fashion, to 'break a leg'
Joyce DiDonato

At one point, tenor Juan Diego Florez, playing Figaro, performed an aria while holding DiDonato up to relieve her pain.

She paid tribute to "Senor Florez, who sang an unbelievable Cessa Di Piu Resistere, all the while being sure to help keep me on my feet".

She said her "amazing colleagues" had helped her "through every little step" and praised "astonishing music-making at every single level, hair-raising improvising by myself and my ridiculously brilliant cast, and a lot of patience on the part of the public".

Well wishers

"I don't know that I have ever experienced an evening quite like this one before, but I'm certain that I have invoked a new policy regarding well-wishers," she added.

"From here on out, I declare that no-one, please, ever, ever, ever, wish me again, in the American fashion, to 'break a leg'."

A Royal Opera House spokesperson said: "I think this is the first time we've had something like this happen and, at the time, Joyce was very brave carrying on. It was only later she realised that it was a fracture.

"Obviously, the audience members were delighted she carried on and obviously gave her their full appreciation at the end of the evening."

The Barber of Seville will also be beamed to 15 Big Screens around the UK on Wednesday 15 July, where members of the public can watch the production free of charge.

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