In a recent statement from the Metropolitan Opera, the organization claimed,
“The Met has identified the rogue audience member, who quickly exited the theatre after his outburst, since he will not be allowed to attend future performances. There have been no other recent incidents of this nature.” -The Metropolitan Opera
This act on behalf of the Metropolitan Opera occurred after the critic stated, "You have no technique" after Brenda Rae's performance of Richard Strauss’ ‘Ariadne auf Naxos.’
Although they did not share the name of the critic, the Metropolitan Opera claims that they have identified him and since banned him for life. He will thus not be able to attend any future performances at the Metropolitan Opera.
Despite heckling or criticizing opera performances being a bit rude and tasteless, it is not new to opera audiences and is traditionally a common practice. For instance, as Classic FM's Sophia Alexandra Hall noted, "In 1998, Met audiences booed the young avant-garde director Robert Wilson after the opening performance of Wagner’s Lohengrin at the New York opera house. His production featured little to no contact between performers, meaning the opera’s two lovers hardly looked at each other throughout the performance, let alone touch..." The audience did not like the production and they all collectively booed loudly, which was an acceptable practice at the time.
Also, In 2009, "Swiss theatre director Luc Bondy’s production of Puccini’s Tosca at the Met was also booed as audiences found the production too safe and traditional. While the opening night audience gave ovations to the singers involved in the performance, once the director Bondy took to the stage, the cheers turned to prolonged boos." -Alexandra Hall of Classic FM
While criticizing poor technique is common place in opera, banning people from attending performances for having their own opinion is NOT. We do not advocate for this rude and tasteless practice of heckling, but we think banning people for life is cruel and sets a dangerous precedent for those who have their own opinions. Perhaps, if the Met gave some forgiveness and had any appreciation for those who dedicate their time, money, energy, and love of the art form to come see a performance, they would have showed some leniency and grace to the critic. They could have simply talked with him and come to an understanding for what is expected in future performances- and made a more clear, public statement on the matter on their website and written policies for audience members. The Met could have showed their humanity and tried to educate, rather than just ban and cancel.
What is next- banning writers of major news organizations who criticize a production?