The operatic equivalent of the UKIP (Tea Party for US readers) is on the warpath again. A small bunch of self-appointed censors with tiny brains and too much time on their hands have been ranting that a new opera production nobody's even seen is 'not what the composer wanted' - apparent justification for subjecting its creators and defenders to a gush of verbal sewage.
The Bavarian State Opera has been forced to introduce a hardline moderating policy on its Facebook page after a series of hate-filled and idiotic comments appeared beneath this photo of the new Il Trovatore production.
At first nothing unusual happened, they say. Many users pressed the Like button, others wrote that they'd like to watch the performance or the live stream on 5 July. Of course there were the usual negative comments on the picture: the costumes were reviled as "ugly" and the production (on the basis of the photo) as "inappropriate" and so on - all of which is acceptable in the context of a fair discussion. But gradually malice and aggression crept in. Artists, the administration of the Bavarian State Opera and its Facebook moderators as well as other users were attacked, labelled as "mentally ill", and accused of "Nazi methods". In the way of these diatribes, it's not long before 'full-frontal urination' (not a part of this production) is accused.
As a result, the Bavarian State Opera have decreed that insults, defamation and insinuations will now be removed from their Facebook page without comment, and repeat offenders may be blocked. I hope that other institutions will follow suit. Even when it's not actively hateful, this parroted 'criticism' is tiresomely negative and detracts from any real discussion. About time it was stopped in its tracks.