Opera Star Gets Help Singing Duet From Audience Member

Enthusiastic opera student sings the male role during renowned soprano’s encore.



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In a recent concert performance, a renowned soprano was taken aback when a young opera enthusiast rose from the audience during her Verdi recital to play the role of Alfredo alongside her portrayal of Violetta, The South China Morning Post reports. 

In the midst of her encore performance of Violetta's "Sempre Libera" (Always Free) from Verdi's La Traviata at the Verdi Festival in Parma, Italy, the esteemed operatic soprano Lisette Oropesa found herself without a tenor duet partner.

Traditionally, the tenor playing Alfredo remains offstage, as if serenading Violetta from beneath her balcony in the opera's staging. However, since this was a solo recital, no tenor was present.

Liu Jianwei, a devoted fan of the Cuban-American soprano and a student at the Conservatorio Giuseppe Nicolini di Piacenza, happened to be in attendance, according to Classic FM. Noticing that no male singer responded to Oropesa's rendition of Violetta, he made a bold decision to join in during the second bar.

The astonishment and joy on Oropesa's face was evident as her young admirer lent his voice to her recital. While Oropesa’s character, Violetta, sings an enraptured "Oh!", a written part of the original score, the "Grazie" that Oropesa spontaneously interjected next (in the viral video as seen on Reddit), was a heartfelt expression of gratitude for this unexpected moment.

A hero in China
Jianwei earned the title of "hero" on Chinese social media for his spontaneous contribution to the performance from the back of the hall, according to SCMP.

Following the viral spread of his impromptu performance, Liu took to Weibo, the popular Chinese social media platform, reported Classic FM, to explain his actions, stating, "I stood up to sing because Lisette Oropesa is a musician I deeply admire, and I happened to have learned this opera beforehand."

This strange and romantic incident is a testament to the power of music and the profound connection between performers and their passionate fans. The extraordinary circumstances highlight the magic that can unfold when a shared love for the art form transcends the boundaries between the stage and the audience.

Not proud of himself
As reported by Classic FM, Jianwei explained that he would not take the risk of attempting such a singing stunt again. In a video, Jianwei stated, "It is definitely not something to be proud of or promoted."

He added, "Please refrain from interrupting singers while they are performing on stage. It is impolite behavior." Jianwei emphasized that others should not imitate his actions, and he personally pledged to never repeat such an act in the future, wrote Classic FM.

Following the concert, Jianwei took the initiative to apologize to Oropesa, who appeared genuinely grateful for her unexpected duet partner. Oropesa generously gave him her autograph and posed for photos together.

The video of Jianwei singing to his favorite opera star quickly spread across various social media platforms, garnering significant attention. Notably, opera and TikTok star Babatunde Hip Hopera contributed to the video's popularity on the platform, accumulating one million views. His caption advised, "Friendly warning, do not attempt this with other sopranos.”

Other viewers posted a different perspective: “This shined a beautiful light on opera that some people like me, who are not typically drawn to it, truly enjoyed the experience. So Bravo!” wrote BudgetWiseDecor.

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