IRONIC OPERA: THE SILENT KILLER
While there are a surprising number of onstage heart attacks, electrocutions, murders and suicides recorded in the history of live performance, there are so far only a few cases of irony-induced death and they have so far been restricted to the snootiest of snooty arts: opera and avant-garde dance.
Internationally renowned American baritone Leonard Warren made it all the way through an aria as Don Carlo in "La Forza del Destino" that began with “to die, a momentous thing,” before unceremoniously faceplanting after a fatal cerebral hemorrhage. Tenor David Versalle cut it even finer during his performance of "The Makropulos Case," as immediately after the line “You can only live so long” he suffered a fatal heart attack and fell off a 20-foot-tall ladder.
Finally, there’s the case of butoh dancer and performance artist Yoshiuki Takada of the Sankai Juku dance company, who was carrying out a perfectly everyday upside-down suspended dance routine six stories above the ground when a rope that had repeatedly been verified as safe suddenly parted, dropping the dancer to his death.
The name of his final performance? "The Dance of Birth and Death." Let that be a warning to those of you considering dancing upside down some sixty feet above a busy street: Be on the lookout for ironic titles.