Metropolitan Opera - Deaths At The Met

Deaths At The Met

On February 10, 1897, french bass Armand Castelmary suffered a heart attack onstage in the finale of act one of Flotow's Martha. He died in the arms of his friend, tenor Jean de Reszke after the curtain was brought down. The performance resumed with Giuseppe Cernusco substituting in the role of Sir Tristram. On March 4, 1960, leading baritone Leonard Warren died of a stroke onstage after completing the aria "Urna fatale" in act two of Verdi's La forza del destino. On April 30, 1977, Betty Stone, a member of the Met chorus, was killed in an accident offstage during a tour performance of Il trovatore in Cleveland. On July 23, 1980, Helen Hagnes Mintiks, a Canadian-born violinist and member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, was murdered by stagehand Craig Crimmins during a performance of the Berlin Ballet. On January 5, 1996, tenor Richard Versalle died while playing the role of Vitek during the production of Leoš Janáček's The Makropulos Case. Versalle was climbing a 20-foot (6.1 m) ladder in the opening scene when he suffered a heart attack and fell to the stage.

In addition, several audience members have died at the Met. The best-known incident was the suicide of operagoer Bantcho Bantchevsky on January 23, 1988 during an intermission of Verdi's Macbeth.

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