Italian baritone Luca Salsi came to the rescue when an ailing Placido Domingo canceled 30 minutes before the Metropolitan Opera’s live broadcast April 4 of Verdi’s Ernani.

Just minutes before the performance, Salsi received a call informing him that Domingo, who had been suffering from a cold, felt he could not go on. Already scheduled to perform later that night at the Met in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor as Enrico, Salsi agreed to sing Don Carlo in Ernani for the matinee, even though he had not rehearsed the Verdi part at the Met and had last sung the role more than a year ago. That performance was in December 2013 at the Rome Opera, led by conductor Riccardo Muti, music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

“When you do something with Maestro Muti, [afterward] you will remember very well the score,” Salsi said in an interview with the Associated Press. Of his last-minute heroics, Salsi said, “I didn’t have the time to think and be nervous. Just go and sing.” (See Domingo’s thank-you Tweet to Salsi below.)

Chicago audiences last saw Salsi in the CSO’s concert performances of Verdi’s Macbeth, under Muti, in fall 2013 and again in December 2014 in Rossini’s William Tell in a touring concert production by the Teatro Regio Torino of Turin, Italy, at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance. Salsi returns to Symphony Center next season as Ford in the CSO’s concert staging of Verdi’s Falstaff, again under Muti.

Starting at 6:25 p.m. Chicago time, the Met will offer a free live stream of the April 7 performance of Lucia di Lammermoor, conducted by Maurizio Benini, with Salsi and soprano Albina Shagimuratova (as Lucia) and tenor Joseph Calleja (Edgardo).

TOP: Luca Salsi as Enrico in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor at the Metropolitan Opera. | Photo by Cory Weaver/Metropolitan Opera