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Saturday, August 3, 2013

Injured Mezzo Sues Metropolitan Opera

Singer sues following 2011 Faust fall.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Wendy White (right) as Marthe in the Met's production of Faust,
with bass René Pape as Mephistopheles.
Photo by Ken Howard © 2011 The Metropolitan Opera.
According to a story published today on the official website of The New York Times, opera singer Wendy White has filed suit against the Metropolitan Opera following an injury suffered onstage in 2011. A copy of the complaint appears here, hosted by her good friends at parterre box. (The pertinent parts of the document are on pages 8 and 9).

The mezzo-soprano, who has appeared in over 500 performances with the opera company in a career lasting more than two decades, is suing for unspecified monetary damages following a fall suffered on Dec. 17, 2011 during a performance of Faust. 

Ms. White was hospitalized following the accident, and she has not sung at the Met since. She is known for mezzo supporting roles: Bertha in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Marthe in Faust and the role that started her career: Flora in La Traviata.

The article (by Times cultural reporter Allan Kozinn) provides some information about the lawsuit, which was filed on Thursday in New York. Ms. White seeks compensation for medical bills, loss of wages and pain and suffering following the accident.

Mr. Kozinn's article goes on to quote Ms. White's attorney Martin Edelmann, stating that the singer had hoped to avoid legal action in hopes that she would recover from her injury and resume her career. 

That has not happened.

The singer was playing Marthe in an "atomic-age" production by British director Des McAnuff. Ms. White fell eight feet after a section of the set (designed by Robert Brill) gave way underneath her feet. The accident happened in Act III of the ill-fated McAnuff production, which was revived last year to largely negative reviews.

In the Times article, Mr. Edelmann disclosed that the Met's in-house investigation into the accident "showed that the platform had collapsed because it was held together with a window hinge instead of a heftier piece of hardware."

The Met will be served with Ms. White's lawsuit on Monday.

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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.