Opera house seeks 100 naked volunteers, aged 16 to 80

Opera house seeks 100 naked volunteers, aged 16 to 80


norman lebrecht

May 03, 2023

Message from La Monnaie in Brussels:


Vous avez entre 16 ans et 80 ans ? Vous aimez l’opéra ?

Vous rêvez de prendre part à un spectacle hors du commun ?

Rejoignez une équipe de 100 figurant·es bénévoles pour notre production de Das Rheingold de Richard Wagner, mise en scène par Romeo Castellucci.

Les personnes sélectionnées devront rouler et ramper sur scène. Elles seront également placées dans un espace étroit à proximité les unes des autres. La Monnaie leur fournira des sous-vêtements couleur chair pour imiter des corps nus.

Are you between 16 and 80 years old? Do you like opera?

Do you dream of taking part in an extraordinary show?

Join a team of 100 volunteer extras for our production of Das Rheingold by Richard Wagner , directed by Romeo Castellucci .

Those selected will have to roll and crawl on stage. They will also be placed in a narrow space close to each other. La Monnaie will provide them with flesh-colored underwear to imitate naked bodies.

Applicants must be available for eleven rehearsals and eight performances, primarily weekends or weekday evenings.


  • A.L. says:

    Figures it would be La Monnaie. Will they also be providing cups for the men to prevent any potentially anatomical embarrassments?

    • Clem says:

      I can imagine that Monnaie productions can be a bit confusing for people used to provincial, backward theaters such as the Met, Covent Garden or the Paris Opéra National. They shouldn’t worry. The world and opera can move on perfectly without them.

      • Tiredofitall says:

        Move on, yes, but in what direction? The world outside of Brussels is indeed beknighted… or. is. it??

    • John G Deacon says:

      Sounds as if Calixto Bieito may be involved ? Perhaps they might ask the Liceu to borrow their dozen loos from his infamous Ballo ?

  • Clem says:

    Not naked. Flesh-colored underwear.

    The fact that the most challenging director of our times wil be producing his first Ring seems a whole lot more interesting to me. I have seen five Castellucci productions and each of them was a transformative experience.

  • RW2013 says:

    so 1990s.
    What about some Personregie?

  • Tony Sanderson says:

    I’ve just a remembered a number of previous engagements.

  • samach says:

    1) “production of Das Rheingold .. to roll and crawl on stage”

    Ok… I can imagine a production of 100 naked nubile nymphs, but 80 year old naked male nymph(o)s? Nein danke.

    2) “They will also be placed in a narrow space close to each other.”

    You know all the 80 year old perverts will show up for the audition, like, oooh, the closer the better.

    3) “provide them with flesh-colored underwear to imitate naked bodies”

    Read: no black or brown people need apply, ’cause you know damn well all their “flesh colored” underwear will be in light beige.

    4) “eleven rehearsals”

    To learn how to “roll and crawl”?

    5) Perfect for me! I won’t even need the flesh colored underwear! ; )

    • Clem says:

      1. Ever heard of the enslaved Nibelungs?
      2. I love the way your mind works. Ever heard of Spencer Tunic and the 2013 Munich Ring?
      3. Please. This is Brussels, where people of 180 nationalities speak over 100 languages. Don’t project your own village (mentality) on a place you don’t know.
      4. This is not a director who puts people on stage to just stand still and sing. Castellucci transforms the works he puts on stage as well as the people he works with. The 200 extras of his 2011 Brussels Parsifal are still a community.

      No further comment.

      • Madeleine Richardson says:

        I shall never forget the Inferno from his Divine Comedy a decade ago in Antwerp. The Purgatory and Paradise were performed in other Belgian cities. We had the fun part starting with keeping the audience onstage before actors dressed up as devils, complete with pitchforks, let us go to our seats.

        • Diane Valerie says:

          Interesting that you mention “his” Divine Comedy. Silly me for thinking that Dante might have had something to do with it!

      • Tristan says:

        are you his agent? His Giovanni in Salzburg was awful on stage and had the worst singing Salzburg has ever heard

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      If I know anything about it 80year olds will not easily be able to crawl and roll!! They can get down yes, but not up onto their feet again.

      This all sounds absolutely twee!!

  • Madeleine Richardson says:

    Well Les Huguenots had a fair bit of nudity on stage last year and I shall never forget the Turandot in Antwerp, maybe a decade ago now, which opened with a completely nude prince off to his execution.

  • Potpourri says:

    First, orgasmic symphonies. Now, opera house needs naked volunteers.The musical orgasm story generated hundreds of responses. The world of classical music is more interesting than I realized. A little spice adds flavor to a traditional art form.

  • Liz Huebner says:

    La Monnaie really doesn’t know how to tell a story without naked people. I’m surprised this not a Olivier Py production. Last time I was there to see Gioconda they had a naked dude with a clown head for no reason whatsoever.

    • Clem says:

      I’ve had a subscription there since 1989 and I can count the productions with nudity on one hand. You really don’t know what you’re talking about. But that’s a bonus when commenting on SD of course.

  • FrauGeigerin says:

    ‘Volunteer’ as in ‘no pay’? Not paying (or paying so little it is almost same as no pay) people appearing on a stage is becoming a common practice in some institutions (and in these institutions usually managers seeking people working for no pay are usually very well paid).

  • Monty Earleman says:

    Wonder if they will tour to Florida?