Summer risk: Rock-throwing kids injure festival conductor and clarinettist

The French conductor Bertrand de Billy and an unnamed clarinet player in the Orchestre National de France have been hit by stones and small rocks thrown by feral children while they rehearsed Il Trovatore in the ancient open-air theatre of Orange.

De Billy was hit in the shoulder, the clarinet player in the hip. Neither injury is serious.

Roberto Alagna , Marie-Nicole Lemieux , Hui He and George Petean appear in the title roles of the production, which opens this weekend.


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  • Local press goes – amazingly for France – a bit deeper into the situation. Due to antisocial behavious, minors had already been banned from the hillside overlooking the amphitheatre (one thrown stone had already destroyed the main stage manager’s computer). The problems started about a month ago. No wonder the FN is doing so well in that region…

  • This vividly reflects the sentiments of the many children who are forced into the many ‘outreach’ initiatives supposed to expand the audience. Its akin to feeding ducks to make foie gras.

    Jokes aside, if they were in fact feral children, where are the arguments that classical music is ‘universal’ and ‘can be ‘enjoyed by everybody’? It all depends on context, no music is inherently better.

    Hope this does not spread like the Ice Bucket challenge of last year.

    • I disagree: I don’t think it has anything to do with classical music. It happened quite a few years ago in Italy as well. Only, kids were then throwing stones from a highway bridge directly onto cars driving by. Their “excuse” was that they were bored. It seems the same to me in this case. They found a high ground (literally) and decided to make their afternoon more exciting. Stupid, reckless and idiotic, yes. Driven by a desire to strike a classical music production as a protest against “forced outreach” (who forces anybody anyway)? You give them too much credit

  • The three singers named here after Roberto Alagna cannot possibly “appear in the title roles” of Il Trovatore.

  • I can think of worse things for ‘feral’ children to be doing than rehearsing Il Trovatore. But not much worse.

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