Opera Now, 19th April 2016
Ruth McPherson
Tragedy turns into comedy as Gheorghiu’s Tosca misses a cue in Vienna
Saturday night’s performance of Tosca at the Vienna State Opera House descended into farce as Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu missed her entrance in the third act, leaving co-star Jonas Kaufmann waiting onstage.

With no sign of their diva, the orchestra stopped playing and Kaufmann sang in Italian ‘non abbiamo il soprano’ (‘We don’t have the soprano’) before smiling, shrugging and apologising to the audience in German.

The comical moment occurred after the heart-throb tenor was persuaded by enthusiastic applause to sing an encore of the aria ‘E lucevan le stelle’, and some commentators have suggested that Gheorghiu disapproved and stood him up in protest.

However, a spokesperson for the opera house reassured Opera Now that there was no diva behaviour. Head of press André Comploi said that Gheorghiu went back to her dressing room when she realised Kaufmann would have to repeat the aria. She was picked up by the stage manager before the end of the aria but as they were returning to the stage they realised the conductor would not stop for a second applause (as did the conductor of the performance on 9 April). Since she had to go downstairs to the ‘downstage’ and then upstairs directly onto the stage, she simply ran out of time and was too late for her entrance.

Whatever the reason, the stars were able to put the mishap behind them when Gheorghiu returned to the stage to embrace Kaufmann, and the performance ended with a rapturous standing ovation.

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