There's a certain etiquette that audience members generally adhere to while watching a live performance, and that goes doubly for the opera world. But you don't have to be an opera-goer to know that it's generally frowned upon—to put it lightly—for a member of the audience to stand up and start singing right in the middle of an opera singer's performance.
It ain't Lollapalooza, for crying out loud.
But an audience member adding his voice to an opera performance was exactly what happened at the Verdi Festival in Parma, Italy this past fall. According to Classic FM, renowned soprano Lisette Oropesa was performing an encore at the end of her recital, singing the female part from "Sempre Libera" (Always Free) from Verdi's "La traviata." The song is a duet, usually sung between a female soprano and a male tenor, but she was performing it solo. So when the tenor part arrived and no one sang opposite her, 24-year-old Liu Jianwei, a fan of Oropesa and a student of opera at the Conservatorio Giuseppe Nicolini di Piacenza, stood up and filled in the gap.
No one expected it. Not Oropesa. Not even Liu himself, apparently. But the pianist kept playing and Oropesa appeared to be delighted as the young man beautifully filled in the tenor part. Oropesa's initial "Oh," is written into the piece (though you can see her searching the audience for where the man's voice was coming from), but the "Oh, grazie," she added herself to say thank you.
It's a good thing he had a lovely voice. Watch:
Reply to @campmeldinal Reply to @campmeldinal This is the best one I could find #wholesome #opera
According to Classic FM, Liu took to the Chinese microblogging platform Weibo to explain himself—and to warn others not to do what he did.
“I stood up to sing because Lisette Oropesa is a musician I love very much and I happened to have learned this opera before,” he said. “It is definitely not something worthy of pride, nor something worthy of being advocated. Please don’t interrupt singers when they are singing on stage. It’s impolite behavior. Don’t imitate me and I will never do this again in the future.”
Many disagree with him on the "worthy of pride" part at least, and most people commenting on the video were thrilled with both the unexpected singing and the reaction from the opera star.
"She was so gracious and kind!! The shock and delight on her face was so wonderful!! This is beautiful," wrote one commenter.
"I love how her face just lights up, it's so sweet!!!" wrote another.
"That is the reaction of when a musician does it for the love of music," added another "They are both amazing!"
And regarding the "impolite" bit:
"Look I know it would technically be considered rude but he shot his shot and was successful 😂. Can’t blame him one bit.".
This is definitely wholesome— Florence Jay Munar \ud83d\ude04 (@Florence Jay Munar \ud83d\ude04) 1640515517
Liu approached Oropesa after the concert to apologize. She took photos with him and gave him her autograph.
Brava and bravo to them both.
中國男高音外國音樂會“救場”？視頻走紅當事人回應：千萬別學我當地時間10月8日，一名女歌唱家在意大利演出時，臨時返場演唱。當演唱進行到男高音部分時，一位來看演唱會的中國男高音加入了演唱，視頻走紅網絡被網友稱為“救場”。近日，當事人回應：請大家別學我！On October 8 local time, a female singer temporarily returned ...
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