7 November 2014 at 11.19am | 70 Comments
Booing at the opera is nothing new. Audiences in continental Europe have been vocally reflecting their dislike of productions and performers for decades, even centuries. Over the past few years however, British audiences seem to have become a lot more vocal, most recently at the opening night of The Royal Opera's Idomeneo, a production which split audiences and the press, garnering polarized reviews from one to five stars.
'It is becoming more usual', Director of The Royal Opera Kasper Holten recently told the Times. 'I mind it when it becomes a standard reaction to anything that’s new. I don’t mind if it’s a real reaction to something you feel very strongly about.'
'This is essentially about democracy - if you've paid your money and you don't like what you see then let the person who's created it know,' said Petroc. 'It's about engagement. Opera and theatre companies are always telling us "Tweet after a performance, let us know via social media what you thought". This is social media that goes back two or three hundred years - If you don't like it, make yourself heard... To get the visceral impact, a boo is what's needed.'
'I love the idea of visceral impact, that's what opera's about but it lacks humility on the audience's part if they boo if having just seen something,' said Gavin. 'It takes a little time sometimes to realize the true qualities of something. There are legions of stories in opera of works such as Carmen, that were rejected at their premieres but we've grown to love them... If we're talking about [experimentation and excitement in opera] booing silences that. If we're not willing to be confronted and affronted, and we just want tame and predictable productions, how boring life would be.'
We asked our social media followers what they think of the trend:
@RoyalOperaHouse Zero tolerance. Give me an instance when it isn't boorish & arrogant. Spoil your own evening: not mine or the performers.
— Adrian (@Adrian_Specs) November 6, 2014
— Peter (@oysterman55) November 6, 2014
@RoyalOperaHouse maybe opera audiences tend to be more closed minded and less theatre literate than other theatre audiences
— Edward George (@Edward_George_) November 6, 2014
— Mark Ruddick (@Mark_Ruddick) November 6, 2014
— Angela Hurlstone (@AuntyAngelala) November 6, 2014
— Rachel Holland (@LowerSlipsGirl) November 6, 2014
— Sibylle Luise Binder (@Bylle_Binder) November 6, 2014
— Karen Baumer (@phibetakitten) November 6, 2014
— Paddy Briggs (@PaddyBriggs) November 6, 2014
What do you think of booing at the opera?
Do you think opera audiences are different from the audiences of other art forms, and do you see the trend increasing or dying out?