During a performance the other evening of Ponchielli's La Gioconda at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, tenor Placido Domingo, suffering from a bad cold, was replaced at the end of the first act by Carlo Bini, who subsequently 1) got involved in several mix-ups in stage directions that drew peals of laughter from the audience, 2) brought the performance to a halt by missing an entrance and 3) was roundly booed when he sang. When other spectators tried to quiet the boobirds, fistfights broke out and some patrons slapped one another with programs, resulting in the ejection of a number of them by security guards. Conductor Giuseppe Patan� at one point scolded the audience for its behavior and later had to be carried from the podium because his blood pressure was acting up.
Meanwhile, at Madison Square Garden, the New York Rangers were beating the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2. There were no fights during the game, and Philadelphia's Bobby Clarke afterward played the gentleman by offering generous words of praise for the inspired goaltending of the Rangers' John Davidson. To round out a perfect evening, most hockey fans managed to get home without running into any of that rowdy opera crowd.
VINCE THE INVISIBLE
In his weekly syndicated feature, "The Bottom 10," Steve Harvey satirically recognizes the worst college and pro football teams and sometimes celebrates individual losers as well. The other day Harvey conferred a special citation on Los Angeles Rams Quarterback Vince Ferragamo. He noted that Ferragamo had jumped to the Canadian Football League last season "and promptly vanished into obscurity" and had returned to the NFL this year only to disappear into oblivion again, this time because of the players' strike. Meanwhile, in a cruel—to Ferragamo—irony, NBC sought to fill the football programming void during the first three weeks of the strike by televising CFL games.