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Subject: Wendy White's accident at tonight's MET Faust
From: Vinh Nguyen <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Vinh Nguyen <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 18 Dec 2011 04:46:54 -0500
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Here are a few more details about tonight's accident at the MET Faust.
Poplavskaya has come down the leftside scaffold to sing about her dead
sister and Kaufmann answered with "Si le ciel, avec un sourire/L'avait faite
sembable ŕ toi/C'était un ange! Oui, je le crois!" Then Pape would run out
on the rightside scaffold; he was supposed to be chased by Wendy White to
start their parts of the quartet (Vous n'entendez pas/Ne m'accusez pas").
But right during the exchange between Kaufmann and Poplavkaya (Vous
moquez-vous?/Non! Je t'admire!) there suddenly came a series of thudding
sounds from backstage, as if some planks were falling off and somebody
falling too as a result. Kaufmann seemed startled and came to a quick stop
but Poplavskyaya continued her part of the quartet for a few seconds and
then the singing and orchestra trailed off at around "Vous riez sans doute".
From my vantage point toward the right side of the house I could only see
Pape frantically waving toward the conductor, probably asking for curtain
with hand across the neck as described by another witness above. Then
Kaufmann said out loud: "Sorry, we have to stop". Pape then said something I
couldn't make out clearly from stage right. Then Kaufman said out loud
again: "We have an accident, very sorry". Then the curtain came down. After
a tense 2 minutes the female stage manager came out to say: "Ladies and
gentlemen, we will be coming out shortly to make another announcement, but
in the meantime, if you would please, just remain seated. Thank you very
much". The house was hushed in suspense and worry for another tense five
minutes before the female stage manager came out again to say: "Ladies and
gentlemen, we're going to take an early intermission here, and we will call
you back into the house when we're ready to resume the show. Thank you".
Then came a 25-minute break which seemed longer for a rather restless
audience, and when the house was reassembled, the female stage manager came
out again to offer an explanation: "Ladies and gentlemen, Wendy White
sustained a short fall on her entrance. We have sent her to the hospital as
precautionary measure, but she is OK. The role of Marthe will be sung by
..." Then the house burst into applause probably out of a sense of relief.
Then the announcement continued: "The role of Marther will be sung by Teddy
Hanslowe. Thank you". More applause came. The orchestra began tuning again
briefly. And with the conductor already on the podium, there was no more
entrance applause, and he cued the woodwind for Kaufmann to restart from "Eh
quoi, toujours seule?" By the time [Theodora] Hanslowe came out chasing Pape
at the start of the quartet, it was pointly done on the ground and no longer
on the rightside scaffold! The performance went thankfully without a hitch
from then on. There was a full intermission (slightly shortened by a few
minutes) observed after the remaining 20 minutes of Act 3. And by the time
Acts 4 came about, whatever the problem on the rightside scaffold must have
been fixed for the "devil-dancers" to cavort there on both sides of the
stage during the Church scene. With the extra commotion from the
accident/incident, the performance went over time for about 35-40 minutes,
ending at about 12:30-12:35am. Poor Maestro Pierre Vallet, after 14 years
toiling on the MET musical staff, he finally got a debut to remember! I hope
Wendy White only suffered minor scratches and will be ready (trouper that
she is) to return to perform on Tuesday.

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