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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Baritone Brings Down House

Giovanni Jones signs for an admiring young opera lover.
Image from Long-Haired Hare © 1948 Warner Brothers.
The concert debut of acclaimed baritone Giovanni Jones ended in surprising fashion when the ceiling of the arena collapsed. No one was injured, and Mr. Jones emerged from the rubble to take a bow.

Mr. Jones had become a fixture on the Los Angeles opera scene since singing the role of Ambrogio in a small San Pedro production of Rossini's L'inutile precauzione, with tenor Michele Maltese and bass Carlo Jonzio.

A powerful baritone singer with a half-octave range, Giovanni Jones drew acclaim for his performance as Gunther in the Christoph von Dohnanyi recording of Wagner's Götterdämmerung. The singer is also a leading candidate for inclusion in the forthcoming BariHunks 2012 calendar.

The singer was offering a recital focusing on the repertory of Rossini, including the aria "Largo al factotum." But his attempt to hit the high note at the end of the aria caused the concrete ceiling overhead to crack and shatter.

Conductor Leopold Lapin, who stepped in at the last minute for Hans Haasenpfeffer, could not be reached for comment. The maestro was on his way to an appearance at the carrot festival in Pismo Beach, but had taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque.

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