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Subject: Surprise Appearance in "Turandot"
From: "Max D. Winter" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Max D. Winter
Date:Fri, 1 Sep 2017 17:25:51 -0400

text/plain (50 lines)

I would have liked to see this.

From the New York Times, Dec. 30, 1926:

Curious Black Cat Nearly Disrupts Opera;
Takes Stage in 'Turandot's' Tragic Moment

The tragic love of the slave girl Liu, the passion of Prince Calaf, the cruelty and, at last, the 
sweet resignation of the Princess Turandot in Puccini's opera of that name, were regarded 
with due gravity and edification by the audience which assembled last night in the 
Metropolitan Opera House, until, as the orchestra was playing slow and soft music for the 
rising of the curtain on the third act, a black cat appeared, and for the moment took 
possession of the stage.

As the curtain rose, Lauri-Volpi, enacting the part of the enamoured Prince, was apparently 
asleep on the steps of the apartments of the Princesses' [sic] ladies.  The cat approached 
him curiously, while the tenor anxiously opened an eye, wondering if this was fresh business 
introduced for dramatic purposes.  The cat gave no sign say that of examining the inert 
form very carefully, sniffing, turning its back and going over to the prompter's box.  In the 
box, concealed from the view of the audience, was Mr. Marchesi, the prompter.  The cat did 
not approve of Mr. Marchesi and went back, with a weary air, to give Mr. Lauri-Volpi the 
"once-over."  Then, feeling that such a situation was not one in which a well-bred and 
respectable tabby should appear, it sauntered, as deliberately as it had come, back into the 

Meanwhile Mr. Serafin, facing the cat as it came to the front of the stage, was struggling to 
preserve his dignity and keep the orchestra in hand.  Mr. Lauri-Volpi was doing his best to 
maintain the impassive mask of a sleeping Prince, while Mme. Jeritza, back of the scenes, 
was violently curbing the laughter that threatened to bungle her entrance a moment later.  
Only the orchestra, which could not see the cat, escaped its demoralizing influence.  The 
audience tittered and shouted.

The incident was immediately reported to Mr. Gatti-Casazza.  He was inscrutable.  "What 
color was the cat?" he inquired.  When told, he was satisfied.  "That is all right," he said.  
The show went on.


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