When a famous soprano was solo performing a Verdi aria that’s normally a duet, she received a helping hand by a fan—who happened to be a tenor—in the audience.
In a beautiful story that highlights the international confluences in opera singing, Chinese music student Liu Jianwei was in Parma, Italy, to watch a Cuban-American soprano, Lisette Oropesa, perform a recital.
“Sempre Libera,” or forever free, from Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata, is meant to be sung principally by a female, with a male tenor’s voice from off stage, as if singing from below a balcony.
After Oropesa finished the first bar without any male voice responding to her, Liu summoned the lion’s share of his courage and joined in during the second bar. Captured on social media, Oropesa’s voice and face is one of sheer delight and surprise, and the video has gone properly viral.
Violette, Oropesa’s character, is written as saying “Oh” in the libretto, but the soprano’s subsequent “Oh Grazie” was a bit of clever improvisation, one which the crowd caught and enjoyed.
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Liu, the perfect gentleman, took to Chinese social media after the videos took off on TikTok, to renounce his actions and remind people not to disturb singers while they are performing.
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It was only because he had studied the tenor part of the aria thoroughly that he decided to take the risk, he explained.
The best part 😎😍 pic.twitter.com/jhZ14f0bSp
— Heshmat Alavi’s Trenchcoat (@UrOrientalist) December 7, 2021
“It is definitely not something worthy of pride, nor something worthy of being advocated,” Liu stated in a video. “Please don’t interrupt singers when they are singing on stage. It’s impolite behavior. Don’t imitate me and I will never do this again in the future.”
Despite his regret, he was welcomed back stage with autographed photos and selfies.
(WATCH the video for this story below.)
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