Opera men are paid more to appear nude than women

An enterprising journalist in Australia has been trawling the union agreements to see who gets paid more to bare all, or just bare bits.

Top earners, apparently, are male singers who uncover their penis ($67.62 per show).

A dancer’s dick is worth just $35.43.

Furthermore, bums and bare breasts (women only) earn an additional $43.90 for each stage rehearsal or show, while “skimpy costumes that show bare buttocks” will net performers $27, according to the agreement negotiated between Opera Australia and the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance this year.

Read the full frontal report here. Don’t all rush at once.

dresden naked luluroh-salome3

(1) Dresden, Lulu (2) Covent Garden, Salome

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  • Disgusting. It’s all meant to compete with the lowest denominator as presented in the worst movies and TV films…. and distracting from the art form itself.

    • I know. Shame on Richard Strauss, Wagner and Schoenberg (to name but three) for actually writing stripteases, girl-on-girl bedroom scenes, orgies beneath the Mount of Venus, naked girls and other such lowest-common-denominator smut into their operas. Shame! They were definitely doing it to compete with the TV, no question.

      And it’s getting worse: I saw a performance of a Prokofiev piano concerto the other day in which the legs of the Steinway Model D were entirely uncovered. Completely naked and flaunting their ebonised finish for the whole world to see. Nearly had a fit of the vapours. BAN THIS SICK FILTH!

      • Just a bit of cold water…: opera is an art form in which reality is stylized. Subjects may be on the raw side, but they are treated aesthetically which means that a distance is created to allow for reflection. That is what art, in general, is, or should be. It is the difference between a real head on Salome’s plate and an ‘artificial’ head.

        Therefore, ‘real nudity’ is entirely unnecessary and betrays complete lack of understanding of opera. And complete lack of decency, of course.

    • Yet again, Lebrecht twists a story and writes a fanciful headline. Perhaps he should read the article properly:

      “But on the opera stage, the family jewels are worth $67.62. That’s how much a performer, male or female, should be paid for each stage rehearsal or performance at which full frontal nudity is required.”

      Men and women are paid the same for full frontal nudity, not different amounts. Lebrecht needs to stop crying “sexism”.

    • I think almost all such productions are disgusting. Sadly, they are more often in Germany. I hope opera will return to normal traditional productions.

  • But isn’t that what free market capitalism is all about? Are you advocating socialism?
    Apparently male flesh is more expensive than female flesh, possibly because of oversupply of the female flesh product?

    The pic from Dresden btw is not bare flesh, but a costume made look alike. So the singers do not get paid extra.

    Could you please investigate, what cutting the head of (Salome, Covent Garden) will bring the head provider in net profits?

  • Yet again, Lebrecht twists a story and writes a fanciful headline. Perhaps he should read the article properly:

    “But on the opera stage, the family jewels are worth $67.62. That’s how much a performer, male or female, should be paid for each stage rehearsal or performance at which full frontal nudity is required.”

    Men and women are paid the same for full frontal nudity, not different amounts. Lebrecht needs to stop crying “sexism”.

  • Still trying to work out where it says women are paid less. As far as I can see, rates are gender-neutral, but women can claim a payment for toplessness that isn’t available to men. So if anything, women are paid more: the precise opposite of the headline.

    The only significant distinction seems to be between dancers and singers, not genders.

  • Sir (to you lot) Robert Helpmann said the thing with (naked) penises is that they don’t stop when the music stops. So a dancing penis definitely should get more.

    • I remember an old story in which, sometime during the ’70s, a new ballet was being made for Margot Fonteyn in which there was a possibility of some male corps dancers being nude. Fonteyn replied that all the audience’s eyes would be on only one thing, and that would always be half a beat behind the music.

  • Are the men paid by the inch?
    Yes, I am disgusted by real nudity. It should only be simulated. What a meaningless distraction. Oh, but it’s natural. Natural has no place on stage.

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