Opera is cancelled due to substances in the set

Opera is cancelled due to substances in the set


norman lebrecht

February 18, 2018

Friday night’s performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sadko at the Slovak National Opera was called off at the last minute with no explanation offered to the audience.

But these things tend to leak out.

Apparently, singers complained of mould growing over parts of the set.

Health-and-safety were called in. Samples were taken and sent to the lab. Results will take a few days to arrive.

Meantime, speculation is rife. It could be any of these:

a penicillin

b marijuana

c seafood

d remnants of the Slovak national dish from the previous week’s menu

e a Russian mafia plot…



  • Sharon says:

    Mould is no joke. It can get people sick, can affect respiration and throat and thus injure singing, and could be deadly if one is allergic.
    However, it does not necessarily indicate neglect on the part of the stage hands or major structural problems in the house. Mould can grow easily and quite quickly anywhere that is a little damp. Mould grew in my bathroom after a pipe leaked for only a week. It is a sneaky little fellow!

  • anon says:

    Considering the set is covered in dirt that is hosed down every evening before the show, this is not a big surprise…

  • Peter Bleha says:

    However, the main point of this article isn’t that. (I am the author of that article). The samples had been examined and it’s evident that the clay, which is dispersed across the stage floor and on top of which the singers lie during performance or dig through with their hand, is mildewy. The truth is, the clay had been sitting in the deposit for six months prior to the premiere. The theater’s management is refusing to remove it because supposedly they aren’t allowed to do so due to licence terms and are demanding that the artists keep performing. The latter had entered a strike following multiple allergic reactions and even a pneumonia immediately after the first show. The theater’s director appeared on TV on Friday night and said they would water the soil more before the act to eliminate dusting. Yet the humidity will only contribute to the mildew’s growth.

  • dar says:

    yikes…who knew?

    Mold Sickness and related illnesses from Mold Exposure are real. Mold has been linked to Lung Damage, Brain Damage, Cancer and even Death.
    The latest discovery of “Mold Fine Particulates” in our environment coupled with the associated medical documentation; prove beyond a shadow of a doubt, sickness and disease from mold exposure and exposure to Mold Fine Particulates are very real.

    If Mold spores are inhaled or ingested you can become seriously ill. The longer you go undiagnosed, and untreated, the Mold will continue to grow inside your body, making you sicker with each passing day. As Mold continues to grow inside your body it produces poisons called “Mycotoxins”, these poisons leach into your body day after day. Each day it is left untreated the colonies of Mold grow larger producing and releasing larger amounts of toxins into your body.

    Different spicies of Mold produce different toxins and people will suffer a wide range of different symptoms. Mold Sickness will affect many people in many different ways and produce a variety of symptoms.

    Because the variety of symptoms from mold exposure are so wide in range many physicians deem their patients to have psychological problems.

    Below are the symptoms of Mold Sickness where you can get help and even speak to a live person.

    Level – I Common Symptoms of Mold Exposure

    The most commonly reported symptoms of short term Mold exposure:

    Itching Skin
    Redness and skin irritation
    Watery Eyes
    Itching Eyes

    Level – II Advanced Symptoms of Mold Exposure

    The following symptoms of Mold exposure have been reported generally as a result from persons being in a Mold contaminate environment on and off for an extended period of time. Symptoms are reported to have become more severe and longer lasting directly in proportion to the length of exposure time. Their reported symptoms are as follows:

    Constant Headaches
    Nose Bleeds
    Feelings of Constant Fatigue
    Breathing Disorders
    Coughing up Blood or Black looking Debris
    Loss of Appetite
    Weight Loss
    Hair loss
    Skin Rashes
    Open Sores on the Skin
    Memory Loss “Short Term”
    Neurological & Nervous Disorders
    Sexual Dysfunction
    Swollen Glands in the Neck Area and under the Armpit
    Sudden Asthma Attacks or Breathing Disorders
    Ear Infections and Pain
    Chronic Sinus Infections
    Chronic Bronchitis
    Pain in the Joints and Muscles
    While it seems Mold can cause many symptoms one must remember that there are thousands of species of Mold. Different species of Mold can have a wide variety of reactions within different people.

    Level – III Late Stage Symptoms of Mold Exposure

    The following Mold exposure symptoms are the most severe and are attributed to high levels of exposure:

    Brain Damage
    Memory Loss “Long term”
    Bleeding Lungs

  • Bob Goldsmith says:

    Anyone remember John Sessions enacting Pier Waffington, the opera impressaio who trafficked drugs disguised as snow in opera sets? (Interview with Michael Berkeley on BBC Private Passions)? Would love to hear it again!