Irish have an opera on Harvey Weinstein

Irish have an opera on Harvey Weinstein


norman lebrecht

June 27, 2021

Conor Mitchell, director of the Belfast Ensemble, has composed an opera on the sexual predations of the jailed movie mogul, to be staged at the Belfast International Arts Festival in October.

Mitchell, 43, has taken his text from the testimonies of six women who gave evidence against Weinstein during his New York trial.

He tells the NY Post: “In a way, I don’t care about him. I care about the effect of his actions on other people. The ability of music to express that. One of the main arguments of the piece is ‘Where can music express what is not said here?’



  • CB says:

    I hope this is done in a sensitive way and all six women whose testimonies will be used are asked first and involved all the way through so their words are presented how they would like them to be.
    Otherwise it’s not like opera’s not got enough works already featuring women who’ve been raped by men.

    • The View from America says:

      I can imagine hordes of opera-goers clamoring to see this brilliant new addition to the repertoire.


    • conor mitchell says:

      Hi CB. This is at the forefront of our minds. While still at an early stage, the work needs to be handled in a sensitive and non-exploitative way. This is 100% at the top of the agenda and something we are very alive to. I hope – should the work happen – it will be a work of art that supports the women and their experience. Otherwise it will have failed.

      • Carl Rogers says:

        I echo the issue of sensitivity to the women who were violated by this dangerous person. It is very important that their stories are told truthfully, with insights, courage and hope. I wish you much good fortune in this project.

      • CB says:

        Thank you for taking the time to reply, and I’m glad to hear it’s at the forefront.

  • Patricia says:

    This sounds like a waste of time. But as it is based on a sexual predator, I’m sure the MET will snap it right up.

  • Karl says:

    Will there be a part for anyone to play Bill Cosby too? I’m tired of this racism that denies black singers good roles.

  • fflambeau says:

    Tickets will be easy to get.

    • The View from America says:

      But better contact the box office for reservations right away — just to be sure. This new opera could turn out to be the next Così fan tutte …

      • Rebecca Caine says:

        The opera about a misogynist who manipulates his students to gaslight their socially isolated girl friends? That opera?

  • Sharon says:

    Oh…I don’t know. The audience for opera, at least in the US, is mainly older people who either want comedy or drama that is so far removed from them historically that they do not have to worry about the message.

    I read an autobiography of an famous opera singer, (I forget the name) who said , and I am sure this is true of many others, that there was always a tension between portraying the character with realism and depth and also concentrating on the technicality of the singing at the same time.

    For something like this, if it is well developed musically, the music and singing may overwhelm the acting. But, if there is really well developed character acting, would it be considered considered musically at the level where professional opera singing and music should be?

    Incidentally I believe that any musical theater has the same problem. If it’s a musical people go mainly for the music and the set etc. not for the drama or to learn something about human emotion or relationships.

    It’s hard to have a really “serious” musical or opera, at least from the point of view of the audience.

    • V.Lind says:

      I would have thought that Wagner’s themes were important things. I’d say the same for a lot of other operas, too — I am less familiar with musical theatre, though I thought west Side Story, seen when I was a sprog, was on the serious side…