31/Jul/2014 - Last News Update: 19:55

Royal Opera House shrugs off first night catcalls

Category: Entertainment

Published: 29th Feb 2012 11:05:52

The Royal Opera House has shrugged off the boos and walk-outs that greeted a modern-dress staging of a Dvorak work.

"It is ok to have divided opinion when you try to move the boundaries," said director of opera, Kasper Holten.

The decision to set Rusalka - a version of The Little Mermaid - in a brothel populated by provocatively dressed prostitutes perplexed some critics.

"Girls run around in their scanties... and it's all quite nasty," wrote Rupert Christiansen in the Daily Telegraph.

"Imported from the Salzburg Festival, it is a prime example of the pompous intellectualism which now dominates eurozone theatre."

His sentiments were echoed by The Guardian's Andrew Clements, who called the production "an unedifying exercise in postmodern, operatic grunge".

The Times' Richard Morrison also expressed reservations, describing the staging as "crass, profoundly anti-musical and... mind-numbingly tedious".

First staged in 1901, Rusalka tells of a water nymph in love with a prince who gives up her voice in order to be human.

It is often likened to the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale The Little Mermaid, famously turned into a film by the Walt Disney studio in 1989.

In a statement, Mr Holten admitted there had been some booing on Monday night but said there had been "people shouting bravo at the same time".

"This is not uncommon in opera," said the Danish director, who was appointed to his current role last year.

According to Mr Holten, the production of Rusalka - first presented at Salzburg in 2008 - "does not try to pretend [it] is just a pretty innocent story".

"It shows us that a fairy tale can also be about the darker aspects of life, and for me it highlights the pain and longing in the piece," he continued.

"We hope audiences will bring along their curiosity and expect to be surprised and challenged, made to think about new aspects of this well-known story."

The critics were more complimentary to other aspects of the production. Christiansen, for example, applauded Camilla Nylund's "committed performance" in the title role.

Morrison, meanwhile, found US tenor Bryan Hymel "fervent and impressive" as the Prince and praised the music's "sensous sweep".

Mr Holten said the Royal Opera House was "proud to be presenting such a wonderful cast... who all wholeheartedly believe in and support the production".

Five additional performances of Rusalka are planned between now and 14 March.

Source:
BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2012. Royal Opera House shrugs off first night catcalls [Online] (Updated 29th Feb 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1414858/Royal-Opera-House-shrugs-off-first-night-catcalls [Accessed 31st Jul 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Greek farmers charged with shooting migrants freed

    The owner and head foreman of a farm in Greece have been cleared over the shooting of a group of migrant workers in which 30 were wounded.
  • Hillsborough control box PC denies witnessing cover-up

    A former PC who was inside the police control box at Hillsborough has denied witnessing the start of a "cover-up".
  • Glasgow 2014: Nijel Amos beats David Rudisha to 800m gold

    Botswana's Nijel Amos produced a stunning run down the final straight to beat Kenyan David Rudisha to 800m Commonwealth gold.
  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
  • Metropolitan Opera in late union talks to avoid lockout

    The Metropolitan Opera in New York says it hopes last minute negotiations with unions will avoid a staff lockout.
  • Ebola crisis: WHO to announce $100m emergency response

    The head of the World Health Organization and leaders of West African nations affected by the Ebola outbreak are to announce a joint $100m (£59m; 75m euro) response plan.