René Pape: an enduring image

René Pape: an enduring image


norman lebrecht

July 05, 2022

The German bass, 58, has announced he will not return to the Metropolitan Opera following its enthusiastic support for Pride Week.

In the image below, Herr Pape appears as the devil Méphistophélès in Gounod’s Faust at the ROH, Covent Garden.

A sweet parting memory.



  • Bloom says:

    Social/artistic self-destruction of an individual at odds with himself and with the world ? Existential derive? Grieving for something/someone irretrievable? I would pay more attention to the personal drama hiding behind his words than to the s___tstorm they have , predictably and justifiably, triggered.

  • Herr Doktor says:

    The sad fact is that alcoholism has long-term medical consequences that include neurological ones. If the rumors are true that Rene Pape is a life-long alcoholic, in laymen’s terms, perhaps his brain has been sufficiently pickled as a result. It’s a shame. He’s a great singer and I have enjoyed many performances of his. He’s also likely near the end of his career, so his absence from NY is unlikely to be a great loss. It’s a shame he hasn’t had a 1/1 chat with Yannick Nezet-Seguin on his antipathy towards gay pride. But that’s the thing about homophobes, they are generally unwilling to have an open and candid discussion about their homophobia, because they realize how distasteful it really is when they have to face the consequences of it.

    I hope for Rene Pape’s sake he gets the medical and professional help that he almost certainly needs, for his reported alcoholism, and for his homophobia.

    • Save the MET says:

      His homophobia was likely learned from an early age and has nothing to do with his alcohol intake. It took my lesbian sister for me to get beyond the same, as I was homophobic as well in my younger years. It can be overcome with conversation and common sense. Not everyone is the same and we have to have an appreciation that everyone is not like ourselves and that is fine.

    • Nick says:

      Herr Doktor, disliking gay pride or ANY other type of parades does NOT define homophobia or phobias!! It is time for your to learn this simple FACT!! Numerous gay people despise gay pride parades and they are far from being homophobic. Live and learn. And get medical help yourself! You need it more than Rene Pape!!

      • Paul Brownsey says:

        Pride is not the same as gay pride, since Pride, as now promoted, incorporates many more types of persons than gay persons. For the same reason, objecting to Pride is not necessarily homophobic.

        • Hugo Preuß says:

          Well, if Pape’s statement was *not* meant to be homophobic, he sure phrased it in a pretty misleading way. I could have sworn that these were the words of a raving homophobe…

      • John G. DEACON says:

        Agreed. This issue is not one of homophobia. It is simply a growing intolerance of the ubiquitous and often nauseating triumphalism of the parades suggesting that the rest of the world is out of step with them. As Maud, Countess of Littlehampton, known as Maudie, remarked, “you’d think in the natural order of things, it would have died out by now…!” (Osbert Lancaster).

    • BigSir says:

      You don’t have to be a homophobe to be tired of having gay pride rammed down your throat in the US.

      • Hmus says:

        As long as gays continue to be mistreated both socially and legally, a pride response will be needed. whether or not you personally are too in the closet to participate – pride is the opposite of shame and the public expression and acknowledgement thereof are the only antidote for continued repression, such as Clarence Thomas’ theocratic cabal on the Supreme Court are actively planning even as we breathe. That you see a once-yearly event as something ‘rammed down your throat’ should tell you just how mistaken you are.

      • Herr Doktor says:

        BigSir, it sounds to me like you’re saying the equivalent of:

        “Those Jews can worship whoever they want, but why do they have to wear those ridiculously small hats on their heads in public, and wear those silly stars around their necks too?”

        The bottom line: If you don’t like gay pride parades, don’t go to them. And if others do, well, it’s none of your business.

        BTW, the other day I was in a restaurant, and a couple was passionately kissing in front of the maitre d’s stand at a time when she was elsewhere. I stood and watched, and could only be happy for them even if the way they were so aggressively going at it in public is not exactly my style. But it was genuine on their part, and who cares?

        Yet had that been a gay couple doing the exact same thing, you and probably others would have found it disgusting. Am I right? And then you would probably be complaining “Why does this have to be rammed down our throats all the time?” Well, this gay man had extremely overt heterosexuality rammed down his throat the other night, and actually, I was just amused.

        Think about it.

      • Hugo Preuß says:

        Yeah, right. And while we are at it, can we please also stop St. Patrick’s Day, Steuben Day Parades, Thanksgiving Parade and what not? I’m tired of having all of this rammed down my throat. I mean, it is one day out of 365, or at least a few hours out of that day! The inconvenience is gigantic!!

        PS: Get a life.

  • David G says:

    He’s right! In today’s environment, if you don’t toe the line, you’re canceled. I’ve battled cancer and heart disease — and you know what? nobody cares. The world doesn’t owe you anything if you don’t fit the norm or you have a personal struggle. Of course, full rights for the LGBT community, no one denies that, except the GOP. But to have it invade every decision of the Met is a little bit much.

    • Tiredofitall says:

      “But to have it invade every decision of the Met is a little bit much.”

      Where are you getting that from?

    • fcg says:

      The dude went out of his way to take a dump on participation of Met talent in a Pride event. Nothing was invading anything. You’re changing the subject for your own reasons.

    • Maria says:

      Can’t agree more. If only they’d get on and do opera with self-confidence, and not let it get all caught up with the woke brigade and politics, and then deal out punishment to those singers and musicians who simply don’t agree.

    • Helen Wynn says:

      Seriously, I would be very interested in some accurate quotes by current GOP members who have made are anti-LGBT. Whom are you talking about? Thank you for your help.

    • David says:

      I’m sorry nobody cared about your cancer and your heart disease. Maybe they did, but were unable to communicate it effectively to you. Or maybe you did not know the right people at the time.

      But this isn’t about LGBT community somehow affecting every professional decision of the MET. it’s about showing support for the members and audiences that do take part in this community, who often have experienced discrimination and marginalization. You also deserved a community who helped you out and supported you during the tough times. Just because you didn’t the last time, it doesn’t mean that’s how it should be for everyone in the world.

  • Zachary James says:

    In the immortal words of Lizzo, “bye bitch”

    • Maria says:

      Nasty comment to a fellow human being and artist, and worse with such a beautiful Biblical name of Zachary.

  • Klaus J. says:

    Bravo René!

  • Phillip says:

    What a cutie!

  • Opera workers unite says:

    As someone who has had to put up with his blatant homophobia in the workplace I say this is no loss.

  • Ludwig's Van says:

    Good riddance, Rene – your homophobia is even worse than your declining voice.