Audience member saves a performance of La Bohème by joining his opera singer wife on stage

24 July 2018, 09:52 | Updated: 24 July 2018, 10:38

Charles Castronovo saved a performance of La Bohème at the Royal Opera House
Charles Castronovo saved a performance of La Bohème at the Royal Opera House. Picture: Instagram / PA

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

Disaster was averted at the Royal Opera House on Friday when the leading lady’s husband – who was watching in the audience – stepped in when one of the cast had vocal problems.

Last Friday, 20 July, opera singer Charles Castronovo was watching his wife, soprano Ekaterina Siruina, perform the role of Mimì in La Bohème at the Royal Opera House when he was called on to save the day.

Tenor Atalla Ayan had been performing the lead male role of Rodolfo that evening but was suffering from vocal problems. He was afraid the rest of the show would have to be cancelled.

Castronovo, who has previously sung the role of Rodolfo at the Royal Opera House, volunteered to replace him for the final two acts of the performance. Castronovo sang the role at the side of the stage, while Ayan acted silently on stage.

Comedian and author Stephen Fry was in the audience and said:

“England desperately needs rain and we did our best to water London with our tears. Congratulations cast, crew orchestra and all @RoyalOperaHouse for a La BooHoo to remember,” said Fry.

Author Kathy Lette added on Twitter: “Thank god ⁦@stephenfry⁩ and I wore our waterproof mascara for La Boheme. We blubbed throughout, especially when the tenor’s voice cracked and the soprano’s hubby leapt up out of the audience to take over the role of her lover. Sensationally romantic.”

A spokesman for the Royal Opera House told The Stage: “We were incredibly grateful that Charles quickly agreed to step in and sing the second half of the performance from the side of the stage, while Atalla walked the role in costume.

“The audience received the news of this change graciously and greeted both Charles and Atalla with a wonderfully warm reception during the curtain call at the end of the performance.”