Hiding Willy: Met bans dick from Akhnaten cinema relays

Hiding Willy: Met bans dick from Akhnaten cinema relays


norman lebrecht

November 07, 2019

We hear that the daring moments of full-frontal male nudity in the forthcoming Philip Glass opera will not be allowed to leave the house intact when Akhnaten gets a live screening on November 23.

Some of the artists are quite cross about the airbrushing of a cast member.

Can’t seem to remember the name of the naked singer.

Must ask his PR.



  • Dalledu Alletre says:

    … ossia L’inutile precauzione.

  • Tiredofitall says:


  • Greg Bottini says:

    Who’s Dick?
    And why was he banned?

  • Brian says:

    Here in America we do our best to keep Victorian England alive and fearful. Can’t have an X-rating of an opera. Ah well, perhaps it’s more important that theaters not ban the show than that this is missed because of 19th c. faux-morality. It deserves to be heard. It is grimly amusing that the Met — home of so much genuine moral degradation — should be behind this.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Nonsense. It is distasteful to have such visuals in an opera, even in contemporary opera. It should not be necessary at all, and it is only distracting from the work. The idea of having as much ‘reality’ as possible in an art form which is entirely imaginary and symbolic, is a cheap way of drawing attention which has nothing to do with the art form itself. Where ‘nudity’ is deemed necessary it only reveals the contempt for opera in general. This has nothing to do with Victorian morals, but everything with pubescent nostalgia for those hip sixties.

    • MWnyc says:

      Except that, as you indicate, it’s not really the Met behind this; it’s the cinemas. It would be an R-rating, not an X, of course, but the Met Live in HD simulcasts are listed as being suitable for general audiences, and the movie theaters would simply not be interested in the headaches involved in changing the rating and the ticket-selling rules for one simulcast.

      This is really not the least bit surprising.

      • jim12 says:

        The hd simulcasts are subsequently shown on the extremely timid PBS where the nudity would definitely be an issue. Sad isn’t it? Back in the 70’s PBS carried things like Bruce Jay Friedman’s play Steambath with Valerie Perrine parading around in full naked glory. They would never be bold enough to present a play that irreverent today even without the nudity and the chances that they would show ARC full frontal are zero.

  • Francesca says:

    Doesn’t anyone feel sick in an orchestra or choir when they see it?

  • We privatize your value says:

    You must know this song by Jethro Tull (the band): https://youtu.be/9H1JYRmxiT0

  • M McAlpine says:

    As having heard the preview I was not about to subject my ears or patience to this I am unconcerned!

  • Chris Ponto says:

    Same thing when Salome showed her hamentashen a good ten years ago.

  • Escamillo says:

    An infallible rule of opera production: the weaker the music the more necessary the distractions required on stage.

    • John Borstlap says:

      That sums it up entirely.

    • Allen says:

      “the weaker the music the more necessary the distractions required on stage.”

      Precisely. Perhaps members of the orchestra should smash their instruments after the performance, following a precedent set by The Who.

      Anything to grab attention.

      (And no viola jokes please)

    • Bashh says:

      I have seen the Vienna Opera production of the Strauss Die Frau ohms Schatten streamed over the Internet. The music, especially as played by the Vienna Orchestra, is anything but weak. The cast was outstanding. And when the Dyer’s wife is promised a handsome lover, one appears, all stripped down and waiting.

      I have seen the production twice. The music is so definitely not weak that the first time I saw the livestream I didn’t even notice the nudity.

    • Anson says:

      Then I guess we can all assume you abhor the old-school opera productions with overstuffed sets and prefer minimal staging, bland costumes, and very little moving around the stage by the singers?

  • mary says:

    Damn it, I demand a refund of my IMAX 3D ticket!

  • Chester Page says:


  • Jim says:

    This is the opera company that a year or two ago brought the first scene of Rosenkavalier out of the bedroom and into the corridor.

  • I’m going to guess this is one of those “the theaters won’t allow it” things .

    Whenever an “NC-17” movie comes out it is duly noted that few theaters will able to book it because their lease forbids them from showing anything beyond an “R”.

  • Fridolf says:

    No big deal …

  • cym says:

    There was no problem with Benjamin Britten ‘Billy Budd’, which was shown in adult movie theaters, showing full-frontal and back male nudity.
    It was renamed : Willy Butt’, I remember.

  • Gustavo says:

    Puccini’s “Le Villi”

    Catalano’s “La Willy”

    Rimsky’s “The Golden Cock”

    Wagner’s “Parziphal”

    Any more?

  • Simon Hall says:

    So much fuss over such a little thing…

  • Thomas Silverbörg says:

    The singer is Squaldrino Cazzolungo.

  • Robert Manno says:

    Met Goes Willy-Nilly!

  • Sir David Geffen-Hall says:

    If the MET was smart about this, they would make it into a double billing with Salome.

    Think Pagliacci/Cavalerria.

    It would fund the deficit at the end of the year. 🙂

  • cym says:

    Shakespeare would have commented : « Much Ado About Nothing », considering the ‘minimalistic’ approach of Philipp Glass …

  • Ms.Melody says:

    If this is supposed to be the “biggest” draw of this opera, I will definiitely give it a miss

  • Edgar says:

    Male frontal nudity. Hmm. If it were advertised as “gun” it could pass in America.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    A cast “member”? Any why would anybody want to ‘celebrate’ toxic masculinity in this way?