Drama at the opera tonight: Ana Maria Martinez, Glyndebourne's glorious leading lady in Rusalka, fell off the stage towards the end of Act 1 and tumbled into the orchestra pit where cellist Santiago Carvalho, one of the LPO's longest-serving members, broke her fall and possibly even saved her life. His cello was slightly damaged.
Melly Still's production involves some magical moments of dancing, acrobatics and flying mermaids on ropes, but I'm told that Ana Maria was simply walking backwards at the time. An ambulance was called and she appears to be going off for some checks, but at the moment she's thought to be absolutely fine, if a little shocked. The opera continued with her understudy.
Santiago is unhurt. George Christie, Glyndebourne's proprietor emeritus, so to speak, went to the orchestra pit to thank him, as Ana Maria's head had hit his shoulder which probably prevented her from being seriously injured... Besides it's not every day that a mermaid falls from the sky into your lap! Here is Santi (left) with George. Meanwhile (UPDATE, 10.35pm) Ana Maria has been released from hospital & all is well.
Jessica Duchen is a music journalist and the author of four novels, two biographies and several stage works. She writes regularly for The Independent and BBC Music Magazine. Her latest novel, Songs of Triumphant Love, is published by Hodder.
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