Vanessa-Mae’s mother buys full-page ad to attack Times critic

Vanessa-Mae’s mother buys full-page ad to attack Times critic


norman lebrecht

June 03, 2018

Richard Morrison did not think much of Trioperas, three operatic masterpieces filleted by Pamela Tan Nicholson ‘and presented with all the artistic subtlety and emotional depth of a Club 18-30 holiday, in a staging that veers from kung-fu movie to breakdance to unintentionally hilarious am-dram …’

Ms Nicholson responded yesterday with a full-page ad in the Times – page 16, estimated cost £8-10,000 – in the form of an open letter to Mr Morrison, accusing him of ‘terrifying bigotry directed against anyone who enjoys (or offers) poular music entertainment.’

She continues: ‘Cultural elitism is every bit as unedifying as racism, sectarianism, sexism – this list goes on.’

This last proposition seems a tad extreme.

And perhaps not the most cost-effective way to make a musical point.



  • Having been subjected to the awful Triopera at the Victoria and Albert museum Opera exhibition earlier this year , I can only agree with Mr Morrison’s opinions and report that Pamela Tan Nicholson struck me as a fruitloop of the first order.

    • Caravaggio says:

      (((-: re fruitloop. There are so many of those everywhere in the cultural scene it’s daunting. Color me elitist.

    • Rod langabeer says:

      Perhaps you should actually see the production at the Peacock theatre rather than comment on the V+A exhibition you saw performed by Brit School members none of whom are principle cast members in the show

  • Peter says:

    Thousands of people came to the show after the exhibition and standing ovations
    Obviously you are yes n a different ffernt planet together with Mr Morrison

    • Thousands of people are parading in the streets demanding Tommy Robinson’s release from the prison that they claim he’s been sent to by “The Elite”
      That doesn’t invalidate the judge’s verdict or alter the nature of his offences.
      The creator of the abomination that is Triopera should be grateful that the musical elite lack the power to deal with her in the same way.

  • Allen says:

    “She continues: ‘Cultural elitism is every bit as unedifying as racism, sectarianism, sexism – this list goes on.’”

    She need not worry, I’m sure that elitism will be added to the list of illegal “ophobias” in due course.

  • Rudolph says:

    Watch the beautiful audience at the V and A loving it and singing along. Of course neither of you were amongst the beautiful people in the footage. Party poopers!!!

    • John Borstlap says:

      I was there and I loved it! Finally some life blown into those dinosaurs! Afterwards I could not sleep for 2 nights of excitement while after having endured a long Puccini I fall asleep during and after the show in the bus. If you want to perform that stuff at all, get it out of the silly sniff box theatres with the pretentious cult snobs & give it to the people! opera was for the people… for us, not for the old fogeys and certainly not for people writing about it but who cannot sing at all! Opera has to be liberated from all those people calling themselves experts and professionals… they hijacked the thing to suppress the proletariat, the people for which it was written!


      • Peter says:

        Are John and Sally alter-egos of the same person ?

        • John Borstlap says:

          Sally is my PA and she sometimes irreverently uses my computer to look at SD and add comments under my name, when I’m working. It seems to ventilate some pressure, although it is a constant irritation in the work relationship.

    • Sally , you can hear in your video clip exactly how awfully the poor singers were made to sound and look.
      I am briefly visible too and obviously not beautiful or enjoying the cacophony.

  • buxtehude says:

    The episode does teach us that the feelings of the parents (mothers especially) have not been privileged in calculating the proper parameters of critical discourse.


  • william osborne says:

    I wonder how much these productions cost. I think there will be substantial losses.

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    “I think there will be substantial losses”

    One can only hope.

  • Thomasina says:

    Just before this topic, l have read concerns about the music critique. But now I understand that there are people who respond much…

  • william osborne says:

    A group in Northern Italy called Opera Domani is is touring to several cities with a shortened version of Carmen for children. Unlike the Triopera production, it remains as true to the original as possible. I think the Bregenz Festival is also doing a production of Carmen designed for children. Both productions use orchestras. Tickets for the Opera Domani production are ten euros for children and 15 for adults. More info here:

  • Larry says:

    can someone please tell me what a “Club 18-30 holiday” is?

  • John Borstlap says:

    I don’t understand why the Sunday Times would send what apparently was a serious music critic to what apparently was a cheap, populist entertainment confection for people who are ignorant of classical music and/or opera. I fear the members of the audience will be rather disappointed when / if they go to see / hear the originals.

      • John Borstlap says:

        Crazy! It’s like sending a vegetarian to a barbeque, or a vicar to a brothel, for inspection.

    • Rod langabeer says:

      The audience are not ignorant to classical music or opera, the whole purpose of this production is to spark interest and encourage newcomers to go and see traditional opera, whether it has succeeded or not is open to question, a valiant attempt has been made and I certainly enjoyed the show.Regarding shows being cancelled this week, it’s for rehearsals due to role changes and I suspect some Production changes . As for the gentleman commenting about the V+A exhibition, those performers are not the principle cast members in the actual production at the Peacock Theatre.

  • Peter says:

    What fun.
    Angry Mum seems to be a bit blurred over the distinction between creation, adaptation and quotation.
    Is Angry Dad going to step in next or does he just pay for the adverts.


    OK guys, here we go.

    I was at EMI in V-Mae’s glory days. (She was fine, by the way. Despite it all, seriously self-possessed.) I did the booklets, took the phone calls.

    ‘Certainly sir, may we send you the CD?’

    __’No, I’d just like the poster [slinky shot of V-M coming out of the sea].’

    ‘Of course, sir. Would that be with or without pubes?’ [Publicity dept had had to make hasty, er, hair-bushing no -brushing.]

    The controlling mother was a standing joke of various kinds. Viz:


    I DON’T KNOW, WHAT IS [ect]


    I thanggyou!

    [There was also a marketing murder plot tied in with the Strange Occasion of the supposed theft of V-M’s violin. But the details are available only on exorbitant application.]

    • norman lebrecht says:

      I remember it well. I spent a Sunday afternoon on the phone to a newspaper lawyer who was trying to airbush (sic) my description of that celebrated cover.

  • collin says:

    Memo to Times Reviews Department

    From Times Advertising Department

    Please write more bad reviews. Parents buying up ad space by the page.

  • Jim says:

    Ad did the job… shows now being cancelled…