How did the violinist know how to sing Aida?

How did the violinist know how to sing Aida?


norman lebrecht

August 17, 2017

We’ve been looking into the extraordinary incident last night where the soprano missed her entry and a violinist in the orchestra, Jen Lindsay, jumped up and sang her part.

Here’s what Jen tells Slipped Disc:

‘To be honest I’m one of two covers for this particular concert performance, so I did learn and coach the whole role recently, but of course as a cover there’s lots and lots of sitting around, so in an effort to reduce my boredom (and learn the opera a little better) I asked to join the orchestra…’

Nice to be so diversified, but why did the soprano miss her cue?

‘She never received a call to stage. Our venue is a temporary outdoors setup and the dressing rooms are located far from the stage so the director is texting the singers their various calls. He simply forgot to text her at the top of Act 3.’



  • Sam Cheung says:

    LOL. Birth of another Diva overnight !
    Remember Toscanini made such switch from Cellist to conductor in Aida as well. History repeats itself 100 years or so later.

  • James Manishen says:

    A similar thing happened in Vancouver with Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius in 2007 where tenor Ben Heppner couldn’t continue:

    • Bruce says:

      A friend of mine who was playing in the orchestra for Pittsburgh Opera told me about a time when the tenor (I believe it was also Aida) couldn’t sing and was replaced by the conductor, who sang while conducting. This would have been ~5 years ago by now.

  • Barbara says:

    Thanks for the link Jonathan. it made interesting reading.

  • Right Place at Right Time says:

    Tenor Siegfried Jerusalem was originally a bassoonist.

    In 1975, when due to perform in the orchestra of a television production of Der Zigeunerbaron, he stood in for the tenor Franco Bonisolli at the last minute.

  • Christopher Clift says:

    The late lamented Alfreda Hodgson started her student life as a cellist.