Friday night's performance of Turandot at the open-air theatre in Torre del Lago nearly finished in more tragedy than the opera had already delivered when, just after midnight, part of the stage collapsed sending tenor Marco Voleri to the ground. After the two-metre fall, Voleri was taken to the local hospital in Versilia where it was ascertained that he had suffered a fracture to his spine.
Voleri was sitting on a throne during the closing moments of the opera when the structure gave way after a steel cable snapped. The structure is now under police investigation, though the Festival will continue as planned.
Yesterday afternoon the tenor was transferred to the hospital in Livorno, his home town, where there will be an operation on his fourth lumbar vertebra in the next few days.
It is painful and I'm still under shock… The collapse was so sudden that there was nothing I could do to avoid falling; I felt the ground disappearing from under my feet.
Voleri wrote a book, published last year, called Sintomi di felicità (Symtoms of Happiness), an autobiography where he describes his passion for music together with having to live with multiple sclerosis.
The annual Puccini Festival is held a short distance from the composer's villa in the village near Viareggio on the Tuscan coast.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.