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Wednesday, 13 March, 2002, 14:18 GMT
Opera chief 'rejects sex and violence'
The Royal Opera House
Mr Pappano takes over in August
The incoming music director of the Royal Opera House (ROH) has promised sex and violence will not be used to provoke a reaction when he takes over the reigns, say reports.

Antonio Pappano revealed some insights into the future direction of the Convent Garden opera house at a low-key lunch, according to the Independent newspaper.

The British-born conductor takes over the post from Bernard Haitnik in August, although his appointment was announced back in 1999.

Royal Opera House
The Covent Garden opera house had a 216m revamp in 1999
Recent opera productions have provoked controversy for their graphic interpretations of sex and violence.

An English National Opera production of Verdi's A Masked Ball featuring a homosexual rape has seen opera-goers vote with their wallets and stay away.


Mr Pappano, speaking to the Royal Philharmonic Society, said he favours more traditional operas which audiences recognise and love.

He also said he was opposed to controversy for controversy's sake and did not approve of "concept productions" of the likes of Madame Butterfly, calling them "dangerous".

"There are certain pieces that can take and there are certain pieces that shouldn't take it," the Independent reports him as saying.

At the age of 42, Mr Pappano will be the youngest artistic director in the history of the Royal Opera House, having been at the helm of the Theatre de la Monnaie in Brussels for 10 years.

Born in London to Italian parents, he emigrated to the US at the age of 13 with his family.

He has conducted at European and American opera houses and is also principle guest conductor of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

His first production at the ROH will be Richard Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos.

He is due to reveal more details of his future plans later this month.

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