Michieletto + ROH = freestyle booing

I think this was an opera, not a discussion.

Remember how much I liked Rene Jacobs’ conducting of Idomeneo? And remember how meh I felt about Michieletto’s direction? I watched it once though I listened to it many times since. But opera should indeed be a discussion. Anything less is demeaning to the art form.

Kasper Holten brought Michieletto to ROH for Guillaume Tell and unsurprisingly Michieletto made some waves. This production involves a (gang) rape scene which was booed whilst it was going on. Not at curtain call – during the actual opera. Whether the scene is warranted or not is as usual debatable. I’ll make up my mind later this month when I go see the performance. There will be filming and a cinema relay on 5 July.

What got my head spinning was the comment section in the Guardian. It’s again the same tired comments that opera is jolly entertainment (from people who sound like they don’t go to the opera):

ROH is not the same as Tracey Emin. Modernist interpretation is best reserved for modernist theatre.

I like it when people help us understand what’s what.

Opera and reality don’t mix. People who go to the opera want a stylised, elitist experience follwed by a nice bottle of wine somewhere chic.

Wait, wasn’t this an elitist experience? The chap above might think so.

Isn’t the point of the theatre to get away from reality once in a while?


Audiences will surely stay away from new productions until they work out whether or not they will want to sit through them.

An educational outcome? I can only hope more people will look a bit into what they’re going to see. Hats off to Michieletto, then.

About dehggial

Mozart/Baroque loving red dragon

Posted on June 30, 2015, in rants, rossini, royal opera house and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Regie, or Not Regie?

    I heard about this on BBC World News (on our local public radio station) this morning. I came in after the story started and they were in the midst of talking about all the booing and how the conductor and singers persevered. But they never repeated the name of the opera! Anyway, I got ROH and booing and found it on google. thanks for weighing in on this. I am looking forward to reading your first-hand impressions.

    • I’m very curious myself, especially seeing as how I’m ambivalent about Michieletto. Either way I’m against booing, especially during the music per se, and reducing a review to opinions on the production.

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