A break from opening night routine Music: Irina Mishura, singing Carmen, broke her arm during the opera's first act. But the show must go on, and so did Mishura, with a splint.

March 21, 1998|By Sandra Crockett | Sandra Crockett,SUN STAFF

It was an opening night with a twist.

And not just the usual twists and turns that are a part of the opera "Carmen," a psychological tale of murder and jealousy.

This twist was more like a break. A breaking of the lead performer's bones, in fact. But mezzo-soprano Irina Mishura carried on at the opening performance last night and so will "Carmen," performed by the Baltimore Opera Company.

"She slipped and fell," says Michael Harrison, the general director at the Baltimore Opera Company. "She fell during the performance, but it did not stop her. She didn't know herself if her arm was broken. She knew she was hurt. She knew she was in pain."

Mishura, who was taking no phone calls yesterday, finished the rest of the first act (roughly a half-hour). Doctors were called to look at her arm during the intermission, and they put ice and a splint on it, Harrison says.

"The intermission was about 12 minutes longer than usual," says marketing director Deborah Goetz. Mishura returned to the stage and performed the rest of the opera, about an hour and a half.

"I saw that she fell," says Linda Moxley, who was in the audience. Moxley, who is vice president for marketing and public relations for the BSO, noticed that Mishura favored the injured arm and saw the bandages after the intermission.

"I thought it was pretty remarkable that she finished performing, and she did a spectacular job," Moxley says.

It wasn't until after the opera was over that Mishura went to the University of Maryland hospital and had the arm X-rayed. The arm was broken at the wrist, and the cast she wears now encases her forearm. She will be back on the stage today singing "Carmen."

"Right now we are redoing costumes to cover the cast," Harrison says. "There is also a lot of grabbing that goes on in Carmen -- and I don't think we want that. But it's important that people know about this so they don't think she just has a stiff left arm."

Goetz says it is in Mishura's character to carry on regardless of the pain.

Mishura was born in Moldova, in the former Soviet Union. She was the leading mezzo-soprano of the Moldavian state opera.

Seeking religious and personal freedom, she and her family were considering emigrating to Israel but got a sponsor in Detroit at the last moment.

In 1992, she moved to the United States along with her husband and their 9-year-old daughter. Her first appearance as an opera singer in the United States was as Siebel in "Faust," performed with the Toledo Opera.

During last year's Baltimore Opera season, Mishura portrayed Azucena in "Il Trovatore."

Pub Date: 3/21/98

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