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Accident at Opera Stage

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Uploaded on Dec 18, 2011

From New-York Times by DAN WAKIN
The mezzo-soprano Wendy White fell from a platform eight feet above the stage during a performance of Gounod's "Faust" at the Metropolitan Opera on Saturday night and was taken to the hospital. The Met said she did not appear to be seriously injured and was in stable condition but was undergoing tests.

Members of the audience said that during Act III, as Ms. White, in the role of Marthe, was walking onto a platform from a staircase behind René Pape, who was playing Méphistophélès, a clattering sound was heard and she disappeared from view. "Curtain! Curtain!" yelled Mr. Pape, and the curtain fell. A hinge on a piece of plywood that connected the platform to the stairway broke, causing the plywood to give way and leading to the fall, a Met spokesman said later.

A Met official took the stage to say Ms. White had suffered a short fall and was brought to the hospital. The Met later said in a statement that a house doctor immediately attended to her, and an ambulance took her to St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center. The Met said she never loss consciousness.

After about a half-hour, the opera resumed where it had left off, with an understudy, Theodora Hanslowe, carrying on in the role.

Ms. White is a Met stalwart who has made more than 500 appearances with the company since her 1989 debut as Flora in "La Traviata."

Such mishaps are rare on the opera stage but do occasionally happen. Fears of stage accidents at the Met lately have centered more on its new production of Wagner's "Ring" cycle, which involves a giant 45-ton mechanized set. It has malfunctioned several times, but with no reported injuries.

John Tierney and Christopher Phillips contributed reporting.

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