The music stopped early Sunday at the Lied Center for Performing Arts.
On stage, Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra had performed a strong rendering of the “Don Juan” tone poem of Richard Strauss and, in anticipation of some great opera arias, excerpts from Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” overture produced strong audience applause.
Karina Brazas, a regional finalist in this year’s Metropolitan Opera auditions, won Lied audience hearts with her “Batti, Batti” aria from “Don Giovanni.” Hearts melted even more with her reassuring, mellow voice that floated well over the nearly two-octave range of this work.
Then the announcement came: a tornado warning had been issued for the area. The 800 patrons were told to stay in the concert hall, as it was the safest place.
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The Lied Center is well prepared for such emergencies. It's been through a two-year period of campus exercises and a thorough Department of Homeland Security examination of its emergency plans.
LSO Executive Director Barbara Zach took the stage to reassure people in the audience, and TV coverage of the weather appeared on the wide screen.
A short break in the weather provided the time to decide: Wait it out, or call it off?
Eventually and unfortunately, the concert was canceled with a few apologetic words from Conductor Ed Polochick. Lied patrons were allowed to leave the building about 6:50 during a break in the weather