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Opera Performer Falls Off Stage

February 15, 2002

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NEW YORK (AP) _ The Metropolitan Opera’s premiere performance of Prokofiev’s ``War and Peace″ got a little extra drama when a member of the cast fell off the stage into the orchestra pit, bringing the production to a halt for several minutes

The accident happened in the final scene of the 4-hour epic on Thursday night. Simon Deonarian, a non-singing extra who was playing a French grenadier, slipped and rolled off the steeply sloped stage.

Francois Giuliani, director of press and public relations for the Met, said Deonarian landed in a net that had been erected just below the stage for the production. The performer, who was not hurt, then jumped into the orchestra pit.

The performance resumed after it was determined Deonarian was uninjured. At the conclusion of the opera, the Met’s general manager, Joseph Volpe, brought a smiling Deonarian out to center stage to loud applause from the relieved audience.

``Our retreating French soldier lost his way in the snowstorm,″ Volpe said to laughter.

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