Classical Notes

Veronica Dunne winner socked by conductor after opera ‘error’

Sir John Eliot Gardiner cancels all engagements after outburst in which he punched award-winning young bass William Thomas

Sir John Eliot Gardiner: ‘I am heartbroken to have caused so much distress.’ Picture: Chris Lee

The internationally renowned British conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner has landed himself in a ton of trouble after striking a soloist for entering the stage incorrectly during a performance of Les Troyens at the Berlioz Festival in southeast France on August 22. The incident has created headlines across the music world and brought into focus the tensions inherent in producing opera.

Gardiner has cancelled all engagements for the rest of the year and apologised for his behaviour. “I am taking time out to get the specialist help which I recognise I have needed for some time. I am heartbroken to have caused so much distress. I am determined to learn from my mistakes,” he told the London Times.