By Chris King •
Updated: 23 Sep 2023 • 20:10
Image of a person holding a candle.
A tragic incident occurred at the Ambronay Festival on the evening of Friday, September 22.
Alejandro Meerapfel, the 54-year-old Argentinian baritone, was performing opera on stage at the famous music festival in eastern France when he suffered a fatal heart attack and died.
At the time, he was singing alongside the musicians of the Cappella Mediterrannea under the direction of the renowned Argentine conductor Leonardo Garcia Alarcón.
The show was immediately halted and the audience evacuated from the concert hall. Despite the subsequent attempts by firefighters and emergency services to assist him, the singer died at the scene, reported a ResMusica journalist who was present at the performance.
‘Alejandro was an angel on earth. Before the concert, his smile and good humour filled the souls of the entire artistic team and the Festival. We will miss him but he will be with us forever’, a distraught Alarcón posted on Facebook.
According to the ResMusica website, Meerapfel – who trained at the prestigious Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires – had been playing the role of God the Father in the oratorio ‘Dono della Vita Eterna’ by Antonio Draghi. They said he complained of feeling unwell after his second appearance, more than an hour after the start of the show.
The Argentine conductor and founder of the Cappella Mediterranea ensemble was a close friend and long-time on-stage accomplice of the baritone. He already distinguished himself in numerous productions with the ensemble, including in the Abbatiale d ‘Ambronay.
In a statement, the management of the Ambronay Festival said: ‘Dear festival attendees. Dear friends. We are sad to announce that the baritone Alejandro Meerapfel died last night of a heart attack on stage during a concert within the framework of the 44th Ambronay Festival’.
They continued: His sudden disappearance leaves us in shock. Our thoughts are with his family, his loved ones, the artists of the Cappella Mediterranea and the Namur Chamber Choir, and all those who, like us, feel devastated by the disappearance of a man of inestimable kindness and an artist whose exceptional modesty and talent will remain in our hearts’.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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