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The BBC has confirmed it has suspended all opera services at the Royal Opera House in London after an investigation into an alleged breach of opera law.
The Royal Opera Hall has confirmed that a “serious incident” was reported to the Independent Commission for the Protection of Performers (ICPPS) in March.
“We can confirm that an investigation has been launched by the BBC regarding the issue,” a spokesman said.
The Royal Commission on the Protection and Enforcement of Performances (RCPE) is investigating the incident, which saw an unidentified woman reportedly be “physically assaulted” by a male member of the audience at the opening of a new season of a popular opera, and another woman be “assaulted” by another male member in the middle of the opera.”
We are fully co-operating with the investigation and will be providing all necessary information in due course.”
The Royal Commission on the Protection and Enforcement of Performances (RCPE) is investigating the incident, which saw an unidentified woman reportedly be “physically assaulted” by a male member of the audience at the opening of a new season of a popular opera, and another woman be “assaulted” by another male member in the middle of the opera.
The woman’s “physical altercation” was alleged to have happened during a performance of Carmen.
The investigation was launched following an allegation that the BBC had failed to provide the Commission with “sufficient details” as to the nature and extent of the alleged incident.
The BBC said it had launched a full investigation into the matter and the matter had been referred to the independent body.ICPps Chairwoman Dr Laura Brown told the BBC’s Newsnight programme that the allegations raised “serious issues”.
“I believe there should be an independent investigation of this incident, because it is a very serious matter,” she said.
“It is extremely important that the public have confidence in the quality of the performances and the conduct of the actors.”
“It’s the same as having a female actor who is assaulted by a member of audience, because that’s the level of abuse you need to be able to take in order to stop the performances.”ICPees spokesman Michael Moore said the BBC was “fully co-operative” with the inquiry.
“I think that the inquiry is well worth its time and that the whole public have a right to know what happened,” he said.
The ROC had already issued a statement in March that it had taken steps to “address the concerns raised by the Independent commission”.
“We are currently in the process of working with the BBC to provide further information, and we hope to have that information in time for the new season,” a spokesperson said.
The Royal Concert Orchestra, which runs the Royal Shakespeare Company, has also confirmed it was working with ICPPS to establish whether there was a breach of law.
“The RSO is fully cooperating fully with the commission,” said a spokesperson.
“The RCO has confirmed with the ROC that there has been no breach of the law.”
The BBC has said it has already put in place a new code of conduct that applies to all its productions, including all opera.ICPs inquiry into opera is being led by Sir Nicholas McGeehan, the former BBC director of opera.”ICPs findings will be considered in detail by the Royal Commission and we will fully cohere with them,” a BBC spokesperson said in a statement.
ICPs report is expected to be completed by the end of June.