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Outrage over 'gang rape by men wearing Christ t-shirts' in Don Giovanni opera

By Abdul Nisar

London, Nov 29 (ANI): A new version of Don Giovanni opera has sparked outrage amongst many, thanks to a scene that includes a gang rape by a group of masked men wearing Jesus Christ t-shirts.

Critics accused producers of going "too far" - and have been accused of trying to be sensationalist to attract a younger audience. But producers of the 18th century opera by Mozart said today they were "pushing the barriers of what opera can be".

Oliver Condy, editor of BBC Music, today accused the ENO of using the rape scenes to boost audiences.

"Don Giovanni is a shocking opera about a man who treats woman in a disgusting fashion. There is no point shying away from it and giving the audience a sanitised version," the Daily Mail quoted him as telling the Sunday Telegraph.

"But the rapes are only suggested in the opera, I'm not sure they are supposed to be seen on stage, so perhaps that is taking things slightly too far."

"It's not very savoury, and maybe they are trying to shock for shock's sake. But in an era of cuts to the arts, ENO know they need to find a way of grabbing an audience, and that's certainly one way of doing it," he added.

John Berry, artistic director at ENO, denied that producer Rufus Norris had gone too far.

"Pushing the barriers of what opera can be is part of our vision at ENO and is why we are moving forward with productions by both established opera directors and directors from across the arts spectrum," he told The Sunday Telegraph.

"Rufus's production is a major piece of work - I know it has divided the critics, but you have to breathe life into opera. I think when it comes back in two seasons' time, people will warm to it more." (ANI)

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