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Opera singer forced to change pro-EU dress after audiences complain it is ‘too provocative’

Anna Patalong in her original dress. Photo: Benedict Nelson/Twitter Anna Patalong in her original dress. Photo: Benedict Nelson/Twitter
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An opera singer who performed at the Royal Albert Hall wearing a pro-EU dress was forced to change it after receiving complaints that it was too provocative, her husband has claimed.

Anna Patalong wore a yellow dress and blue sash, with a necklace of gold stars, to perform in Raymond Gubbay’s Classical Spectacular on March 23 – the day of the People’s Vote march in central London – however her choice of outfit is said to have sparked complaints from some audience members.

She performed the following day in a red dress.

In a Twitter thread, Patalong’s husband, fellow opera singer Benedict Nelson, criticised the events saying: “Yesterday a man was ejected from the ROH for wearing a pro-EU T-shirt. Today my wife was asked to change her dress from yellow and blue at the RAH as the colours were too provocative. Two artistic venues people. Anyone who knows their history knows what that sounds like.”

His tweet follows reports on social media that a man was asked to leave the Royal Opera House over the same weekend for wearing a T-shirt supporting the People’s Vote.

Some users joined in Nelson’s criticism of his wife’s experience, including soprano Rhiannon Llewellyn, who said: “The arts give us a powerful voice. We wouldn’t criticise a visual artist for creating a piece of pro-EU art, so why would we criticise a singer? This will have a huge affect on us all and frankly, I think a lot of us should be ashamed we haven’t done more.”

Meanwhile, some argued that Patalong’s performance should have been what mattered, not her outfit. One audience member argued “the public paid to come to a classical music concert and not a political rally”.

Raymond Gubbay, the promoters of Classical Spectacular, has been contacted for comment.

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