The Mexican tenor was singing Don Ramiro in the second performance of a revival of Rossini's "La Cenerentola (Cinderella)" on Friday night when the crowd responded with a prolonged ovation for his second act aria "Si, ritrovarla io giuro (Yes, I swear I'll find her)." The 38-year-old singer returned to the stage, and Fabio Luisi, the Met's principal conductor, repeated the aria, which includes several high Cs and an interpolated high D.
Met spokesman Peter Clark said Luisi and Camarena had discussed the possibility on an encore before the performance, deciding it would be tied to the audience response.
Camarena made his Met debut in October 2011 and is singing the first three performances of "Cenerentola" in place of Juan Diego Florez, who is ill. Florez remains scheduled for the final three, including a May 10 matinee to be televised to movie theaters and broadcast on radio worldwide. Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato performs the title role.
The Met said in the 1920s its programs stated "POSITIVELY NO ENCORES ALLOWED." Peter Gelb has permitted them in certain instances since becoming general manager in 2006.
According to the Met, since 1942 the only aria encores in regular performances of full operas at the house had been by Luciano Pavarotti in Puccini's "Tosca" on Oct. 31, 1994; by Florez in Donizetti's "La Fille du Regiment (The Daughter of the Regiment)" during four performances in April and May 2008; and by Florez in Donizetti's "L'Elisir d'Amore (The Elixer of Love)" on March 31, 2012.