Anti-refugee director is booed after first act

Anti-refugee director is booed after first act


norman lebrecht

December 09, 2015

The audience at the Opéra de Paris did not wait for the final curtain last night. They booed the Latvian director Alvis Hermanis at the interval curtain, apparently – or partly – in protest at ugly remarks he had made about the reception of Syrian refugees in Europe.

His production of Berlioz’s Damnation de Faust was exceptionally well sung by a cast that included Jonas Kaufmann, Bryn Terfel and Sophie Koch, Philipped Jordan conducting.

Faust is reconceived as a kind of Stephen Hawking figure out to conquer Mars.

First review here by William Saintagne (en francais).


photo: Opera de Paris

The next Hermanis production is Il due Foscari in February at La Scala.


  • Eddie Mars says:

    Another steaming pile from a talentless, worthless charlatan.

  • May says:

    Do Slipped Disc contributors now need to sign their comments as “anti-refugee commentator” if they are against Merkel’s policy of open, uncontrolled borders along with her disdain towards fiscal responsibilities?

  • Luk says:

    The director was booed because the public hated the staging. I don’t see how his stance on the refugees (that I completely disagree with, incidentally) has anything to do with the booing.

    • CDH says:

      Really. Is there any evidence that someone canvassed the audience after the boo-fest and asked them why they booed?

      Didn’t think so.

      • Luk says:

        Let’s say it’s extremely likely. Almost certain even. There is no reason to think otherwise, really none.
        I’m pretty confident a VERY VERY small minority of the audience knew about the controversy over Hermanis’ interview.

        There is quite unanimous reception, by critics and public alike, on the distaste of the setting.
        It’s also evident by the behavior of the public of the première. At the entracte the boos had already started, mixed with clappings. At the final call, there were just boos.

        It’s useless to look for other reasons for the booing than that, except to create a flashy title.

        • CDH says:

          My point exactly. I think you misread my “really,” which was meant to endorse your view.

          SD’s headline is “technically” accurate as it was the anti-refugee director who was booed. It is the accompanying post that speculates on the reason why, and which I was questioning in my post above.

  • babyboomer3 says:

    The “entirely young” (under 28) audience on the 5th gave a standing ovation !

  • Gonout Backson says:

    Hermanis has been booed for exactly the same kind of BS others are celebrated for. What he had said makes all the difference.

    He should have known that only declared progressive humanitarians (or careful mutes) have the right to rewrite other people’s works, turn them into nonsense, ridicule them in public, and then sign them with the original titles and the names of the original authors.