Anyone lucky enough to have seen Plácido Domingo's Simon Boccanegra at the Royal Opera House will recall that the Doge's lingering death scene is concluded abruptly and somewhat scarily. Instead of sinking safely to his knees, the 69-76 year old baritenor crashes convincingly to the floor. It's a wonder he doesn't break anything. Of course he rises unharmed a couple of seconds later to remind us that it's all showbiz.
For his semi-staged Proms performance - baking in full sofa-upholstery costume in sweltering conditions that had already sent a few Prommers into a faint - naughty Plácido went one step further. Down he went - smack! And there he lay, motionless, as the seconds ticked on. The concern on Marina Poplavskaya's face spread to Joseph Calleja, then Tony Pappano and a few in the orchestra. We wondered whether he'd ended his career on stage in South Kensington. But then, proving you're never too old for a sick joke at other people's expense (the best kind!), up he popped, laughing.