Tenor Makes Met Opera Debut in Jeans After Star Loses Voice During Show

"No time to change. No time for anything," Italian tenor Francesco Anile said.

ByABC News
April 25, 2016, 2:55 PM

— -- Even at the extravagant Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, sometimes it's casual day.

Italian tenor, Francesco Anile, was forced to make his debut in the lavish production of Giuseppe Verdi’s “Otello” -- in nothing but his jeans and sneakers. With only five minutes notice and no time for a costume change, the 54-year-old understudy was suddenly called to perform for the audience of 4,000 people on Saturday.

"No time to change. No time for anything," Anile told the Associated Press.

The head-spinning moment unfolded when lead actor, Latvian tenor Aleks­andrs Antonenko, reportedly began to lose his voice. The quick-thinking stage director decided to call upon Anile, who is a seasoned performer and Antonenko's understudy, although he was sitting in the greenroom without any costume or make-up. The production was still in progress and there was no time to spare, so Anile quickly wrapped himself in a cape, stood at the edge of the stage and belted out the songs while Antonenko acted the part and lip-synched.

“The Met is the holy grail of opera,” Anile said through his manager, Lewis Ehlers, the New York Post reports. “The theater is one of the biggest and most famous, and you have to have nerves of steel.”

When he joined the cast on stage for the final bow, Ehlers continued, Anile received a standing ovation.