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Award-winning singer breaks leg on ice ahead of Norwich concert

PUBLISHED: 07:00 13 December 2010

Ben Johnson, an award-winning tenor, who broke his leg before performing in a concert at St Andrews Hall
picture by Chris Gloag

Ben Johnson, an award-winning tenor, who broke his leg before performing in a concert at St Andrews Hall picture by Chris Gloag

An award-winning singer's busy schedule has been hampered after he fell on the ice and broke his leg ahead of a Norwich concert.

Highly-acclaimed tenor Ben Johnson was at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital this weekend following the accident outside St Andrew’s Hall on Thursday.

The 27-year-old, who has been a professional musician since winning the first prize at the 2008 Kathleen Ferrier awards, was set to perform as a soloist at the University of East Anglia Orchestra concert on Thursday evening.

Disaster struck, however, just before the rehearsal at 3pm when he slipped on black ice outside the hall, breaking his right leg just above the ankle.

The break is said to be complicated and could see the singer out of action for up to six months – a major blow for Mr Johnson who had a packed programme of Christmas concerts planned and was due to go on tour in Spain and start an opera in January.

Mr Johnson, who lives in London, said: “It was very painful and it looks like I’m going to have to clear my schedule until March, which is pretty depressing.

“The operation is risky because I’ve got to have metal plates put in and I’ve got to take it easy to recover properly. It feels like you’re letting people down. It’s irritating that there’s nothing wrong with my voice, I just can’t stand up or travel.”

It was only Mr Johnson’s second time in Norwich when the accident happened. He had been invited to perform at the UEA concert by an old friend, conductor Tom Primrose.

Mr Johnson was the first outright male winner of the Kathleen Ferrier award for 13 years when he won the first prize in 2008.

As a student at the Royal College of Music, where he gained a first-class honours degree, he achieved much success, including winning the singer’s prize at the Gerald Moore Award as well as a prize at the Wigmore Hall International Song Competition. In September he joined the prestigious Radio Three New Generation Artists Scheme.

A spokesman for Norwich City Council said: “We were sorry to hear that somebody had a fall within the vicinity of St Andrew’s Hall and we wish them a speedy recovery. The gritting of St Andrew’s Plain is part of our winter maintenance programme and the situation is always monitored closely during bad weather. The plain was thoroughly gritted on Wednesday evening and again on Thursday morning.”

Have you fallen victim to the icy pavements? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk

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