Operatic tragedy as singer dies

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The Independent Online
AN OPERA SINGER distressed at his failure to master a part in rehearsals for a tragic opera has committed suicide.

Edward Russell White, a bass baritone standing 6ft 6in, hanged himself on Sunday at a clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, after dwelling on a mediocre performance for his role in the Cleveland Opera's Lucia di Lammermoor.

Opera officials said the 46-year-old singer from East Orange, New Jersey, had been left distraught by the poor performance on Friday.

Mr White was found hanging by a bed sheet tied to a cast-iron sewer pipe at the Cleveland Clinic, a psychiatric hospital where he been taken after the rehearsal. He had swallowed 80 pills of a medication to treat panic attacks, Sergeant Mark Hastings said.

David Bamberger, general director of Cleveland Opera said: "There is pressure in show business, but nobody asked him to do the impossible. He apparently had very deeply seated insecurities."

Ambulance workers who took Mr White to the hospital on Saturday said he told them he wanted to die. A doctor diagnosed him as severely depressed. Mr White had stuffed his bed with blankets to make it appear he was in it, hospital officials said. He was found unconscious and died later in the hospital emergency room.

Lucia di Lammermoor, composed in 1835 by Cammarano and Donizetti, is not short of tragedy. The hero, Edgardo, stabs himself to death in the final act.