The Power of Protest

Graphic Rape Scene 'toned down' in Opera, William Tell

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A few days ago, we asked people to sign a petition designed to encourage the Royal Opera House to re-think a graphic gang rape scene of a naked woman in its production of the opera William Tell.

A few days later, it had!

The scene was so disturbing that when the opera opened at the beginning of the month it received heavy press criticism and promoted mass walk-outs and prolonged booing by the audience – the first time in UK operatic history that an audience have booed during a performance.

The Opera House decided to 'tone down' the scene just before cinemas across the UK screened the production live to a Sunday matinee audience. Given the opera is famed for its ‘Lone Ranger’ overture, was advertised with the image shown here with little or no warning of graphic content, this was, no doubt, a very wise move.

Nonetheless, it shows the power of protest. Thank you to everyone who signed the petition, to everyone who raised concern and most especially to Audrey Mullender, Prof Emeritus of gender violence who spearheaded the campaign.

We have been in touch with the Royal Opera House since and urged them to talk to women's groups next time they consider anything 'edgy'!

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