NEW YORK (CBS/AP) Famed Argentine opera singer Gabriela Pochinki has delivered encore performances before, but never from behind bars.
Yet that's exactly what happened last week as the beautiful soprano found herself performing to fellow cellmates after an alleged loudmouthed dust up in a chic New York restaurant landed her in jail.
How did it come to this?
According to the Associated Press, Pochinki was gabbing full blast on speakerphone in the middle of swank New York eatery Nice Matin when a restaurant manager asked her to quiet down.
That apparently didn't go over well with the woman who uses her voice to reach the back of opera halls.
The soprano, who has performed in lead roles on stages around the world and recorded several albums, allegedly started pushing restaurant manager Jeanette Josue, who claims she asked Pochinki to quiet down or leave the restaurant.
"All the tables were complaining - they were yelling into the phone," the restaurant's general manager told the New York Daily News.
"She was completely immersed in the conversation," Pochinki's attorney, Barry Black, said. "At no time did she notice what was happening until a police officer appeared and told her to come along and they took away her food."
Pochinki was apparently engrossed in her call with organizers of the Las Vegas premiere of the Michael Jackson's film "This Is It," according to the Associated Press.
Pochinki was accused of misdemeanor disorderly conduct, criminal trespass and obstructing-government charges. But her attorney and the singer said on Friday the case was adjourned on contemplation of dismissal, meaning the charges will be tossed in six months, as long as she stays out of trouble.
"The case is closed. In six months, it will be as if nothing ever happened," Black said.
"I'm so sorry if my telephone conversation bothered anyone," Pochinki said Monday of her Oct. 18 arrest.
She described the incident as a "bad moment" that she tried to "transform into something more positive." She compared it to the operatic tragedies that she has performed in, albeit, her experience had a happier ending.
But the story doesn't end there.
Pochinki said that during the two hours that she was detained, on the verge of tears, she recalled the "The Bat," by Johann Strauss. In that opera, one of the characters finds comfort in prison by singing. So she asked permission to warm up her voice.
"I started to sing ("Somewhere" from "West Side Story") and midway through singing they all started feeling it. ... They also noticed that I was an opera singer and they applauded, they relaxed a bit. And my mom, who was outside, she heard me and relaxed, because she knew that everything was fine," said the singer, who has won numerous awards, including for best singer in the world at the Lyrical Festival of Italy.
"When I was leaving, they asked me to sing one more song," she said with a laugh. "It was the nicest thing, to feel what it's like to be on stage in person ... live and direct. (But) the justice system here is good, it's correct, and I appreciate it very much."
Born in Buenos Aires, Pochinki began singing when she was a girl and as a teen represented her country abroad, appearing at some of the most important opera theaters in the world.
She has performed as Despina in "Cosi Fan Tutte," Gilda in "Rigoletto," Rosina in "El Barbero de Sevilla," and Nanetta in "Falstaff." She was selected by Maestro Claudio Abbado for the role of Zerlina in "Don Giovanni" by Mozart.
She has also recorded several albums, including three classical ones with orchestra and chorus, "Sin barreras", "Il Dolce Suono" and "Reina de la Noche"- as well as a Spanish pop opera album, "Pajaro Rebelde," her most recent, in 2007.
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