A sharp-eyed reader spotted that, in the opening-night programme for the ROH’s notorious rape-scene William Tell, the lead sponsors were Simon and Virginia Robertson. On the website, however, their names have been removed.
Sir Simon is a retired banker, Old Etonian and staunch Tory. The couple have been prominent supporters of the ROH for many years. We asked Covent Garden to explain the omission.
The response was: ‘Simon and Virginia Robertson were uncomfortable with the amount of attention this production received so we offered to remove their names. They have not withdrawn their support for the production and are long time philanthropists for the Royal Opera House and supported many new productions.’
Damiano Michieletto’s production was loudly booed, both at the dress rehearsal and on first night. The ROH later toned down the rape.