Well, perhaps rather more that kissing! The Royal Opera’s new production of Rossini’s William Tell opened on Monday 29 June 2015.
A new production opening at Covent Garden? News? Well it is because of the uproar caused by the director, Damiano Michieletto, making his ROH debut with Rossini’s final opera, including a non-singing actress who is stripped, molested with a gun and raped. Champagne, rather than being swilled by the first-night audience, was forced down the poor woman’s throat.
The audience reaction was so intense that the company’s Director of Opera, Kaspar Holten, was moved to issue a statement: “The production intends to make it an uncomfortable scene, just as there are several upsetting and violent scenes in Rossini’s score. We are sorry if some people have found this distressing.”
The twittersphere went wild. Here are a few examples:
“I think mid-performance booing should at least be in tempo & harmony.”
“@RoyalOperaHouse #ROHTell simply went too far. Their moral compass needs checking.”
“ROH suddenly *now* apologises for any distress caused at #ROHTell ?! Was no one at any of the rehearsals?”
Nothing like a bit of controversy to get the box office tills ringing, perhaps.