New York City, NY Metropolitan Opera House Accident, Jan 1905
THIRTY PEOPLE HURT.
ACCIDENT AT THE METROPOLITAN OPERA HOUSE.
MUSIC WAS DROWNED BY SHRIEKS.
PANIC IN THE VAST AUDIENCE PREVENTED BY PRESENCE OF MIND OF THE CHORUS AND THE EARNEST PERSUASION OF HELNRICH CONRIED -- BRIDGE USED IN THE FIRST ACT OF "CARMEN" COLLAPSES.
New York (Special) -- By the breaking of a bridge over the stage in the Metropolitan Opera House, at Fortieth Street and Broadway, during a performance of "Carmen," nine persons who were beneath it were injured, a few of them seriously.
Nothwithstanding the fact that the accident occurred in full view of an audience that filled every seat in the vast auditorium, there was not the slightest semblance of a panic, and after a few minutes' delay the performance was continued minus the bridge and the injured people.
Ambulances responded to hurry calls from the New York, Bellevue and Roosevelt hospitals and the injured were taken to those institutions for treatment.
FRANK PALMER, the stage carpenter, was arrested, charged with negligence, but at the request of the management of the opera house he was permitted to return to the theater until the conclusion of the performance.
The accident occurred ten minutes after the curtain had been rung up on the opening act. The act was at that time well filled with chorus girls and several of the principals. Everything was proceeding along smoothly, when suddenly a creaking noise was heard, instantly followed by a crash.
The bridge upon which were standing seven men, participants in the scene, had broken in the middle and the disjointed ends smashed into the chorus on the stage below, piling in a heap on each side of them.
There was confusion on the stage; but just for a moment. The great asbestos curtain was hurriedly rung down, shutting everything from the view of the audience. HERR CONRIED, the director of the Opera House, was in his box witnessing the performance. He jumped on the stage in front of the fireproof curtain, and moving over to the center, raised his hand in warning and shouted:
"My friends, we have had an accident here, but it is not serious. A few have been injured, but none very badly. Perhaps some of them are more scared than hurt. The performance will be resumed in a few minutes."
Mr. Conried's reassuring words were hardly necessary, for, with the exception of a few nervous women, the audience remained perfectly calm.
In fact, it appeared as though many of those who were present considered the breaking of the bridge as an innovation included in the presentation of the opera. A few minutes later the major part of the male portion of the audience was gathered in the lobby discussing the accident over cigars and cigarettes, while the feminine portion was betting boxes of candy with each other as to the length of time that it would take to clear the stage.
After a delay of about half an hour, during which period the broken bridge was torn down and the injured carried away, the curtain went up again and the performance proceeded.
One of the peculiar features of the accident was that the seven men on the bridge when it collapsed were absolutely unhurt, although somewhat shaken up.
Highland Recorder Monterey Virginia 1905-01-13