Verdi’s operatic comedy Falstaff opens in Portland this week. But, one of the principal singers will perform from a wheelchair.
Weston Hurt is the baritone who performs the role of Ford — a man battling for his wife’s attention after Falstaff sends her a romantic letter.
Hurt injured himself last week, stepping down from a tree stump on stage. He suffered a torn quadricep in one leg and a sprained ankle in the other.
Production director, Laura Hassell, says he’ll now be in a wheelchair with a fully-extended leg.
Hassell says, “It will be different obviously. But I think that people will be able to adjust to it very quickly. I mean he’s a very compelling performer and you’ll get used to the idea that he’s in a wheelchair within the first couple of minutes of him being on stage and then you’ll just buy into the character.”
Portland Opera had to build a ramp for Hurt. His dressing room had to be moved to the first floor. But audiences will have to wait and see how he deals with the scene in which Ford and Falstaff are mean to stand at the bottom of a flight of stairs singing: ‘You go up first.’ ‘No, you go.’