Verdict: Covent Garden opera puncher is found guilty

The hedge fund lawyer Matthew Feargrieve was found guilty today of assaulting a fellow operagoer in the course of Wagner’s Ring cycle.

He was released on bail and told it was unlikely he would go to prison.

Sentence will be passed in January.

Court report here.




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  • An appropriate incident at a Siegfried performance. The Ring is full of hostilities. Those people had read the programme booklet to carefully.

    • Well, by that argument, what about all the knifings / shootings / killings / suicides in operas by Italian, French, Russian et all composers?

      • In some theatres, audiences leave the theatre ready for street violence. There is a story that immigrants in Italy become a nuisance after having visitied an opera production for the first time.

    • …. and then being put to sleep for quite a long period, and be kissed awake by an uncouth youth in animal skin, armed with sword and horn. That seems to be worse than the shock of an uninvited audience member landing on the seat next to your wife.

    • The cost of suing in a case like this would exceed the reward. You don’t get many damages unless you lost money due to the transgression.

    • Common assault (minor), first offence, where no long term harm has been caused; lack of premeditation. This will never justify jail. This only justifies a small fine and perhaps some community service.

  • “Mr Engler, 56, said he felt a “constant flow of blows” after he moved into an empty seat next to Ms Chandler. The designer was initially suspected of carrying out the attack and spent a night in a police cell and was banned from the opera house for life, but the ban has since been lifted.”

    ROH is rather quick to ban folks, isn’t it?

    Is it The Ring’s Curse, I wonder?

  • == Engler asked whether Chandler had purchased a ticket for the extra seat. Chandler said she had not.

    A lesson to us all here. Always say “Yes, I bought a ticket. Billy should be joining us soon”

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