Heckler gets life ban from Royal Opera House for shouting ‘rubbish’ at child actor | Opera

A heckler has been banned for life from the Royal Opera House after shouting “rubbish” at a 12-year-old actor during a production of Handel’s opera Alcina.

The incident occurred while Malakai M Bayoh was singing his lines at the opening night of the opera on Tuesday.

Other audience members shushed the heckler, who left soon after.

The crowd loudly applauded Bayoh, who has been well reviewed for his performance.

The Guardian’s Martin Kettle said the choice of Bayoh “caused barracking from one single person that was quickly – and rightly – drowned in cheers from everyone else”, while the Financial Times associate arts editor Josh Spero called the incident the “nastiest thing”.

“A 12-year-old boy was sweetly singing his lines when a man in the audience yelled, ‘Rubbish!’ and booed him,” he tweeted.

“Who would do that to a child?

“Once the boy was done, the audience responded with wild applause and cheering.”

In a statement, the Royal Opera House said that “steps had been taken” to ensure that the heckler does not return to the opera house.

We are appalled that a member of the audience behaved in this way and steps have been taken to ensure the audience member in question does not return to the Royal Opera House.
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— Royal Opera House (@RoyalOperaHouse) November 9, 2022

“We would like to congratulate Malakai M Bayoh for his stellar performance as Oberto in our first night of Alcina”, the statement said.

“Malakai is astonishingly talented – bringing great acting and beautiful singing to the role – a huge accomplishment for such a young singer.

“Unfortunately, the opening night of Alcina featured an audience member who disrupted the show and Malakai’s excellent performance.

“We are appalled that a member of the audience behaved in this way and our support is with Malakai and the cast and creative team of Alcina.

“Steps have been taken to ensure the audience member in question does not return to the Royal Opera House.”

With the Press Association