English National Opera Spokesman Puts Derogatory Comments in Context

Classic Arts News   English National Opera Spokesman Puts Derogatory Comments in Context
 
An English National Opera spokesman claims that derogatory comments made earlier this year by opera chair Martin Smith were taken out of context, the BBC News reports.

At a private seminar, Smith was reported by the London Guardian to have said that the audience in Glastonbury, U.K., "had never heard or hardly knew how to spell opera."

The ENO spokesman said that Smith's full comment, which was meant to disprove—rather than emphasize—opera's elitist reputation, was, "We put [The Ride of the Valkyries] on in front of 50,000 people who had never heard or hardly knew how to spell opera, and they were compeletely and utterly riveted by it."

The seminar was about reaching new audiences for opera performances.

In addition, the spokesman said that Martin's remarks were protected by "Chatham House rules"—that they were spoken in confidence and should not have been leaked to the press.


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