John Eliot Gardiner
(c) Alfonso Salgueiro

After violently punching one of his singers (William Thomas) on Tuesday evening at the Festival Berlioz at La Côte-Saint-André after the performance of Les Troyens, John Eliot Gardiner has withdrawn from the upcoming tour, leaving the direction to Dinis Sousa, assistant conductor of the Monteverdi Choir & Orchestras. Sousa will conduct the rest of the tour in Salzburg on the 26th, Versailles on the 29th, Berlin on September 1st and the BBC Proms on September 3rd.

William Thomas, the young bass singer who was slapped and punched by Gardiner did not comment, but his agent said: « All musicians deserve the right to practise their art in an environment free from abuse or physical harm. »

Gardiner published the following personal statement: « I deeply regret the incident which occurred at the Festival Berlioz at La Côte-Saint-André on Tuesday evening and apologise unreservedly for losing my temper immediately after the performance. I make no excuses for my behaviour and have apologised personally to Will Thomas, for whom I have the greatest respect. I do so again, and to the other artists, for the distress that this has caused. I realise how much this has affected all the participants involved in this major project and which has been so dear to my heart.

I have returned to the UK and have decided to withdraw from conducting all the remaining performances of Les Troyens. I wish Dinis Sousa and all the musicians great success for the remaining concerts on the tour.

I know that physical violence is never acceptable and that musicians should always feel safe. I ask for your patience and understanding as I take time to reflect on my actions. »

  • Pizzicato

  • Archives