BBC Broadcast of New Work Canceled After Performance Is Panned

Classic Arts News   BBC Broadcast of New Work Canceled After Performance Is Panned
The BBC canceled the broadcast of Via Sacra, a new James Dillon work performed on March 5 by the Royal Scottish National Opera, after critics and the composer panned the performance, the Scotland Herald reports.

The official reason for the cancellation was "technical difficulties," but according to the Herald, the real reason was the orchestra's poor performance and lack of interest in the work. The Herald's critic said that the orchestra "did not rise to the occasion"; the Scotsman's critic said "we expect more from our national orchestra," and noted that the musicians treated the work with "disdain."

An audience member told the Herald, "It seemed to me there was an obvious lack of interest from the orchestra.... It was plain to see they were not taking it seriously. I was appalled."

Dillon walked out after the performance of his work, missing the second half of the concert.

He said he blames the conductor rather than the orchestra for the poor performance. "The responsibility has to come from the conductor, the management, and the leader because the atmosphere they create is key, and if their attitude is dismissive, then it will affect the performance."

"I have worked with Lazarev before," he added, "and let's just say there was minimal conversation and there was a perfunctory way he dealt with me. If he wasn't interested in doing it, why didn't he get one of his colleagues to do it?"

Julien de Ste. Croix, acting chief executive of the RSNO, disagreed with Dillon's assessment of the performance and of Lazarev's interest in it. He claimed that Lazarev was fully committed to the work, and that the orchestra "did a professional job. I have a [prior] recording of the piece and personally I thought our performance was even better than that."

Recommended Reading: