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Opera’s awful role models and the #MeToo moment

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THIS week your correspondent took his 14-year-old daughter to watch an orgy. It was the opening scene of Verdi’s “Rigoletto”, in a rather explicit production directed by David MacVicar at the Royal Opera House in London. Had we been sat in the opera house itself, she would probably have seen only a faint blur of nudity in the distance. However, we were watching a live telecast at our local cinema, so she saw gigantic close-ups of quivering nipples and flexing buttocks. She thought it highly amusing. It was followed by three hours of licentiousness and blood—like “Game of Thrones”, but with a less credible plot. In other words, a typical night at the opera. What kind of a terrible dad would subject his children to this art form?

Nearly all the great operas are crammed with gore, crudity and all the things from which right-thinking parents seek to shield their precious progeny. And the main characters, especially the female ones, make appalling role models. They fall for the worst sort of men: jealous, violent soldiers…Continue reading

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