Opera is halted as conductor collapses

Opera is halted as conductor collapses


norman lebrecht

November 09, 2018

At the Staatstheater Kassel, a performance of Verdi’s Falstaff was stopped when the conductor collapsed.

Francesco Angelico, 41, was rushed to hospital.

There was an extended interval. Then Alexander Hannemann, first Kapellmeister, continued the performance.

Francesco Angelico is now recovering in hospital.


  • John Borstlap says:

    Awful story. It is surprising how seldom such things happen, like musicians suddenly sneezing or having black-outs. In former times, physical mishaps seemed to have cocurred more often, like the conductors of Tristan who collapsed midway.

    • Novagerio says:

      Two conductors collapsed in the middle of Tristan; Felix Mottl and Joseph Keilberth, both in the same spot in the score (in Act 2), in the same theatre (Bavarian National Theatre), 57 years apart…
      and then there was poor Giuseppe Sinopoli who collapsed right at the start of the Nile-Scene of Aida in Berlin, April 20th 2001.

    • Novagerio says:

      P.S: And Dimitri Mitropoulos, who died on the podium on November 2nd (The Day of the Dead), right in front of the orchestra of La Scala, 5 bars before figure 7 in the 1st movement of Mahler’s Third – some musicians drew a cross on their parts at the exact place.

    • Mike Schachter says:

      Poor Sinopoli being an exception.

  • Bruce says:

    Hope he’s all right. These things can happen for such a variety of reasons that it’s impossible to tell how serious it is.


    He is feeling better now, a German newspaper reported. But he is still in hospital.

  • Richard says:

    Perhaps most widely-known was the Proms performance of Carmina Burana, (?) Thomas Allen collapsed, Promenader who had sung it 18 months previously took over, his Mum wept when she heard him on the radio

    • so far as I am aware, the guy who took over was the official understudy but there only because his girlfriend was keen to attend. Either that or his being there by chance — the initial and preferred headline — was the story. As I recall, while the understudy was delivering himself of falsettos etc. Tom Allen was recovering well, and his message of thanks was included in the closing announcements to the audience by Andre Previn. “Tom” was doing fine. I was myself once rushed onstage by my sometime teacher David Kelly, when Dennis O’Neill had a dizzy spell in La Boheme, in Glasgow. As a bass I’d have been no use as Rodolpho, but I was there as first aid attendant — and frankly some of the fun Dennis was engaged in on stage after I’d checked him over would have made me dizzy! There was hardly more than that to Tom Allen’s TV collapse. Alas it was not so for Leonard Warren, or Oscar Natzke, both died in the midst of singing performances — the odd element was that before the performance Warren had asked his wife to bring along their priest — Warren was a Jewish convert to Roman Catholicism — and the good Father was to hand to administer appropriately when hurried on stage.

  • Nonbarihunk. says:

    And not forgetting the wonderful Fausto Cleva who collapsed on the podium and died while in Athens conducting Orfeo ed Euridice. So after all that doom and gloom………..

    Get well soon Francesco Angelico.

  • Aga says:

    he became father not so long time ago…probably only lack of sleep…

  • Jaime Herrera says:

    I knew a conductor who drew a complete blank at a “Grand Pause” in a very famous piece with the score right in front of him. The orchestra waited about four seconds (an eternity in music) until he recovered sufficiently to give the next down beat. The rest of the performance was just fine and he did not collapse.

    • John Borstlap says:

      That is the feared ‘black-out’ – nerve tension suddenly freezes any thought. There is the story of Stravinsky playing the solo part of his own piano concerto, where the soloist begins the 2nd mvt. And he could not remember at all how it went and had to ask the conductor who had to sing the melody for the composer, who then got it all back.