Lyric Opera actor burned while attempting to spit fire

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

Wesley Daniel is hospitalized in serious to critical condition, at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood.

Daniel was attempting to spit out fire balls, when his face caught fire.

He was wearing a fireproof mask and costume, but he still suffered second degree burns to his face and inside his throat.

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…” Ochoa 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.

Some audience members emerging from the opera house still a bit shaken.  Audience member Angela Allyn said she just hopes the performer is OK.

The Lyric Opera says that Daniel’s stunt had been approved by the Chicago Fire Department.

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