Soprano accuses Barcelona of changing Rossini

Soprano accuses Barcelona of changing Rossini


norman lebrecht

August 29, 2017

The soprano Irina Lungu has raised an outcry in Barcelona, accusing the Liceu of censoring Rossini’s opera ‘Il viaggio a Reims’.

She claims that the phrase ‘la Croce splenderà’ (the cross will shine) was changed to ‘l’amore splendera’, apparently in order to avoid giving offence to Moslems.


There has been no response from the Liceu.




  • Alf Garnet says:

    I have written an opera called Vlad Tepes, in Act II on stage there is a banqueting scene with Vlad and his vassals having a post battle feast surrounded by several thousand Turks on spikes, ouch, is that more politically correct or should I ask the costume folk to strap a belt of semtex on them as well for good measure.

  • Nik says:

    Irina Lungu is Russian.

  • esfir ross says:


  • Martain Smith says:

    Sure.. take down Nelson’s statue, Tegetthoff, Columbus, and endless others who might “offend” .

    … and ignite the bonfire for the books.

    It’s happened before!

  • Helmut Camillo Fischer says:

    This is not quite accurate. She only quoted ‘religious correctness’. The interpretation that this was done to appease Muslims was only MINE. I originally shared Ms Lungu’s public Facebook comment, but she soon changed the privacy settings.

  • Gonout Backson says:

    Nihil novi. Stalin practised the same kind of ideological censorship on classical, Russian operas (check some old Russian recordings). Tcherniakov has been “secularizing” his stuff for years now.

    If this is true, Liceu has gone mad – and others shall probably follow. There is no stopping this kind of competition for “who’s the Goodest of Them All”.

  • Tom Moore says:

    Perhaps the management is afraid of Italian-speaking Muslim opera fans?

  • Stuart W Rogers says:

    In the grand scheme of things, this is hardly newsworthy nor deserving of an outcry.

    • Gonout Backson says:

      You mean – censorship is OK if it’s “for the good”?

      • Stuart W Rogers says:

        Suggest you go back and read my comment about the relative lack of importance of this item. I said nothing about censorship, though could at length. Your assumption after “you mean” is incorrect. Censorship is not okay – my comment addressed scale. We live in such hyper-sensitive times…Cheers.

        • Gonout Backson says:

          This is obviously an act of preventive censorship, ideological one, and as such – it cannot be overestimated. Especially since it’s not the first of the kind. But you’re right about one thing : we live in “hyper-sensitive” times. And this act of censorship stands as a testimony to this growing hysteria.

          • Stuart W Rogers says:

            Agree – but read all of this while historic rains are falling on Houston, Texas, and parts of the media are only focused on the First Lady’s shoes during her visit.

          • Helmut Camillo Fischer says:

            It’s probably more a question of perspective than of scale but to me the willful surrender and continuous erosion of our culture, values and freedom is a greater issue than heavy rain in Houston.

          • Gonout Backson says:

            It is probably not “a greater issue” for the people of Houston, but otherwise Helmut Camillo Fischer is absolutely right. This kind of ideological aggression proceeds by little steps, and it triumphs thanks to little, spontaneous and voluntary, cowardices like the one from Liceu. Even worse : since this is indeed (IF IT PROVES TRUE) a very small matter, just one word in fact, a word no one would have noticed, it demonstrates how ready and willing the Liceu’s direction is to “go faster than the music”. I will spare them the obvious analogies from other times.

  • Moonpavilion says:

    Bayreuth (understandably)- and perhaps elsewhere – in the 1950s changed a final line of Lohengrin who sings of the advent of “Führer von Brabant” – this was altered to “Schützer”, Protector.

    • Gonout Backson says:

      They should have done something with all the “Heils”…

      It’s “Honni soit qui mal y pense” brought to a pathological level.

  • Douglas Nasrawi says:

    1. How many Muslims ever go to the opera? 2. It’s two words. From an opera. It’s not the Bill of Rights

    • John Borstlap says:

      The best integrated muslems go to Italian operas, and – like the locals – try to find things to be offended about.

    • Martain Smith says:

      The issue here is this kind of hyper-sensitivity to texts, music, etc. that have history and deserve not to be mutilated because of so-called political correctness – or worse, fear! . Are we going to culturally implode?
      Where does it begin and end???

    • Martain Smith says:

      The issue here is this kind of hyper-sensitivity to texts, music, etc. that have history and deserve not to be mutilated because of so-called political correctness – or worse, fear!
      Where does it begin and end???

  • Mic from Italy says:

    I have no words… Indecent is the only thing I can think of. You touch Opera to adapt it to Muslims and why?
    Admittedly some of them asked him (but i don’t think that muslims love soo much Opera… and if yes, they have to see it like Rossini want.)
    Modify Rossini, or any other opera, is an insult to OUR history. If the public have a conscience, they would ask for a refund of the ticket. The Real Madrid team – since it been sponsored by the Arabs – has deleted the crucifix from its arms …
    Arabic operas do not exist because I don’t think that the North Africans have ever had our rich culture … What have they brought abroad apart the numbers? Belly dancing? And the felafel. INSHALLAH

    • Gonout Backson says:

      Exactly the kind of absurd arguments a troll would use to nip in the bud any serious debate on a very important and sensible subject.

  • SVM says:

    Whilst I disagree with this change, and agree that it is, in general, misguided to whitewash the religious context of a work, it should be pointed out that alterations, abridgements, and cuts are part of the praxis of staging a Rossini opera (and indeed opera by most composers, with the notable exception of Wagner), both nowadays and in Rossini’s time. The reasons for this are varied, and include dramatic considerations, matters of interpretation, and the strengths/weaknesses of a given singer.

    I am not suggesting that we restore the practice of the “suitcase aria” (whereby a superstar singer interpolates an aria from another opera), but I think it is misguided to suggest that there were one singular correct way of staging Rossini. Having said that, I condemn the alteration discussed in this thread — I think it enormously misguided to whitewash the religious context from this opera in such a crude manner (this is not to say that I were against imaginative adaptations of context: it is just that substituting “love” for “the cross” seems, to me, artistically unconvincing).

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    Any complete performance in the near future of Beethoven’s Die Weihe des Hauses anywhere?

  • fred says:

    the board should fire the idiot responsible for this and very brave of mrs lungo to make this known….poor Rossini, poor Europe