Lance Ryan, a Canadian tenor at the Staatsoper Berlin, forgot to turn up for Siegfried on Sunday afternoon.
Twenty minutes before curtain, all was panic backstage. In desperation, Daniel Barenboim called the young Austrian tenor Andreas Schager who is due to sing Götterdämmerung later in the week, and asked if he could step in.
Sure, said Schager, but it’s 4 o’clock now I’m on at 6pm with Simon Rattle in Magic Flute at the Philharmonie.
Come and sing the first act of Siegfried, said Barenboim.
So that’s what he did, singing from the wings while an assistant director dressed as Siegfried mimed the role on stage. Schager got a storming ovation at the end of the act.
He came off to find that Ryan had finally turned up. Apparently the Canadian had thought it was a 6pm show. He won’t make that mistake again.