Opera house announces ‘zero tolerance for any abuse of our artists’

Opera house announces ‘zero tolerance for any abuse of our artists’


norman lebrecht

October 15, 2013

It sounds like Opera Australia is getting over-anxious about social media.

Here are the new house rules, posted on the company’s Fb page:

House Rules

We welcome and encourage open discussion and comments within the Opera Australia online community. This is a place for vibrant, friendly discussion about all things opera related.


This is where we share our love of opera with you through news about our work, behind the scenes updates, the occasional special offer and more. We enjoy engaging in relevant and respectful conversation with everyone from first-time audience members to dedicated opera buffs.


We value your feedback about your Opera Australia experience in all circumstances. However, we expect that your comments and posts will always be respectful of others. Differing opinions are welcome, but we have zero tolerance for any abuse of our artists, our staff or other online community members.


Remember, when you post a comment to a blog or social media site, it is published for the world to see.


Comments and posts that we consider offensive, defamatory, abusive, bullying or which unreasonably upset our community will be deleted. Participants who post offensive or inappropriate material will be reported and blocked.

Thank you for supporting and contributing to the Opera Australia online community.


opera australia




  • Does the ‘Zero tolerance of abuse of OA artists’ extend to their treatment by management?

    • ed says:

      Theo- Have you tried posting it on Opera Australia online?

    • MWnyc says:

      Quite right.

      Lyndon Terracini, of course, was perfectly happy to fat-shame singers publicly while Anthony Dean Griffey was there performing – and getting rave reviews, no less, as Lenny in Of Mice and Men.

      Griffey wrote that he’d never encountered the like at an opera house anywhere, and I expect he won’t be back. (Australia’s orchestras, though, should definitely consider engaging him as a soloist, as he’s a terrific singer.)

  • The management of OA does not want mere opera goers displacing it as the main abusers of artists! Actually there is very little criticism of artists. Indeed there was widespread support for the contracted principals in their recent dispute with management. Most of the criticism in recent times has been of the Artistic Director, who usually manages to dismiss it as the rantings of the 5000 (his figure) long term opera goers who would prefer to the company to stick to its principal purpose: to do opera. The rivers of gold allegedly coming form musicals and operas on Sydney Harbour is not resulting cross subsidisation of more risky ventures in opera. Indeed the program for 2014 is one the ‘safest’ of recent times.

  • I don’t object to such policies, but the question, always, is, who determines what is “offensive or inappropriate material”?

  • Una says:

    I would have thought the best way to judge whether something was offensive was to put yourself into the position of receiving the abuse, rather than dish it out, and to be gracious with criticism without throwing it in people’s faces. In the end what you sow us what you reap! Just one way of many.

  • Vicki Watson says:

    Everyone on facebook knows about deleting, blocking and banning. When you run a page you make those decisions as you go. To publish about it is stating the obvious- so why do it?

  • RW2013 says:

    Interesting (and appropriate) that the image used for this contribution is that of the OA’s sacked (sorry, withdrawn) Ring conductor.

    It remains to be seen if he will ever again be rehired as an OA artist…

  • tomato face says:

    I have no issue with admins and management protecting their staff and artists from “abuse” However – this latest PR fiasco smacks more of controlling micro management than true concern.So far the comments on the OA page that have been deleted primarily concern the current production of South Pacific and the casting of the same leading lady ( a light-voiced musical theatre singer) for the third year running next year in a major slab of time( 9 weeks -8 shows a week) in the Sydney Opera House. This is the third year that OA has programmed a long run of a musical with only one or two opera singers cast including chorus. It has reduced the number of opera performances by a third possible in Sydney. Each year fewer operas are being offered as reruns of old music theatre productions( the 2014 one is a 1991 production ) and 2013 was a repeat of last year’s South pacific with the same two leads.Opera supporters are getting very irate about this trend and making their opinions heard on the OA page.There has not been criticism of other opera artists and as this directive ( the “house rules” came out on the same day that criticism was being posted of the King and I announcement the connections are all too clear.is it good management to intimidate your supporters by threatening banning and blocking and not giving any indication exactly what would bring this about? “play fair” is the headline. OA hardly has an unblemished record in that department. .There were many more”directives” on this “House rules” post too- including threats to report use of OA photos and demand they be withdrawn if shared without detailed attribution and permission. Do they really think they can control the web by threats like that? ironically it is the very artists they claim to be protecting who have been receiving threats concerning shared material. Not good management- social media is an opportunity to build a community and share information. oa seemed to have missed this altogether.

    • Marguerite Foxon says:

      Sooner or later someone will set up a FB page focussed on Opera Australia that allows people to make their comments of the King and I etc etc and there will be nothing OA can do about it. Certainly opera lovers are starting to get irritated enough about the situation to start speaking out. If OA deletes our (non-abusive but not supportive) criticisms we’ll make them elsewhere!