Life imitates art; despondent soprano commits suicide
Just what you need as the holiday season is breaking out -- a sad story from Bucharest.
Over the weekend, Romanian soprano Roxana Briban died of an apparent suicide at the age of 39. Her husband found her body in a bathtub; her wrists were slit.
The AP reports that the singer, whose career included appearances at opera houses in Berlin, Amsterdam and Vienna, had been depressed since the the Bucharest National Opera canceled her contract last year.
In a decidedly operatic touch, the soprano posted a video clip on her Facebook page the day she died -- her own performance of Violetta's death scene in Verdi's "La Traviata." (Another of her roles was Cio-Cio San, the young Japanese woman who commits suicide in Puccini's "Madama Butterfly.")
Something about this story really stings, as did the horrible news of tenor Jerry Hadley's suicide a few years ago. I had not come across Roxana Briban before reading of her passing, but
the excerpts of her career that are preserved on YouTube reveal a passionate artist. Opera singers rarely have it easy, and any number of things can harm their physical and mental health. It seems that Roxana Briban reached some sort of crisis that she couldn't escape. I wish she had found a better way out.
Here's the soprano singing the poignant "Addio del passato" in the last act of "Traviata," when the heroine bids farewell to a happier past: