Actor critically burned during fire-breathing stunt at Chicago opera

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By Tom Negovan/WGN News via CNN Wire

CHICAGO — A 24-year-old performer was critically burned on-stage Monday during a Lyric Opera House dress rehearsal.

It happened in front of a thousand people, including a Chicago Tribune photographer. The stage was packed at the time with other young performers, including Sherry Ochoa’s daughter.

“I was really excited, then all of a sudden…” Sherry said “flames!”

“Yeah– that happens. And they were on the stage and somebody was stomping them out.”

The Lyric Opera Director of Facilities, Rich Regan said “The actor moved off to stage left, there are fire guards on stage that took control of the situation, emergency personnel were called and the fire curtain was brought in.”

Video from the web of what the stunt is supposed to look shows an actor breathing fire and stilt-walking simultaneously. It is a bit elaborate.

The misstep happened five hours into a five and an half-hour opera, a full dress rehearsal of the Wagner comedy Die Meistersinger.

Read more about the incident here.

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