AN OPERA production in Barcelona has hired an experienced ‘intimacy director’ to ensure performers are comfortable taking part in passionate scenes- a first for Spain in any live or recorded entertainment.
The role’s creation came after the #MeToo movement rocked Hollywood but also the opera world with sexual harassment accusations involving the likes of Spain’s Placido Domingo.
In January. the veteran tenor faced new accusations of inappropriate behaviour from a fellow Spanish singer, three years after similar claims prompted an apology and effectively curtailed his career.
He has denied any wrongdoing.
Intimacy director Ita O’Brien- regarded as one of the world’s best- has been providing advice during rehearsals for an operatic version of William Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, which opens this Saturday at Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu.
She was brought in for a production at the Royal Opera House in London last year.
O’Brien, who has advised HBO and Netflix television productions on intimate scenes, said that operas have always revolved around dramatic stories and that historically a performer would arrive into a city just a few days before an opening, and was not expected to discuss intimate scenes.
“Without that process of agreement and consent sought, people were left feeling awkward, harassed, absolutely abused,” she said.
In a recent rehearsal, O’Brien checked that mezzo-soprano Adriana Bignagni Lesca, who plays Cleopatra’s servant Charmian, was comfortable kissing another woman on the lips, and supervised scenes in which the performer playing Antony embraces Cleopatra.
Lesca said there should be an intimacy director in every opera.
“It allows us to coordinate the way we do things, we interact, we kiss… we need to be comfortable with all of this,” she said.
- New sexual allegations emerge against Placido Domingo during performance in Spain in 2000s
- Placido Domingo performs in Spain for the first time since 2019 when sexual misbehaviour allegations first surfaced in America
- SPAIN has cancelled Opera star Placido Domingo’s concerts over sexual misconduct allegations.