Intimate Scene Co-ordinator Ita O’Brien will direct the adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, which will be performed on the Gran Teatre del Liceu stage from 28 October
The Barcelona Opera House has hired an “intimacy coordinator” to ensure performers feel comfortable when taking part in passionate scenes, Reuters reported, cited by BTA.
This is happening for the first time in Spain and is rare for continental Europe.
The creation of such a position came after the #METOO movement rocked not only the film industry, but also the world of opera with allegations of sexual harassment.
Intimate Scene Co-ordinator Ita O’Brien will direct the adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, which will be performed on the Liceu Grand Theater stage from 28 October.
O’Brien, who has consulted on intimacy issues for HBO and Netflix productions, says operas have always revolved around dramatic stories and that historically, performers arrived in town just days before the premiere and were not expected to discuss intimate scenes.
“Without that process of consent and seeking consent, people have been left feeling awkward, harassed, absolutely abused,” says Ita O’Brien.
The specialist, who has 40 years of experience in musical theater and acting, is the founder of the organization Intimacy On Set, which provides support in the television and film industries.
During rehearsals, O’Brien invites performers to “connect with a hug,” then discuss where they feel comfortable being touched and what makes them uncomfortable.
“We’re inviting the contractor to really tell us where their boundaries are, and that’s a big shift in the industry,” she says. “Your yes is yes, your no is no, and maybe is no,” adds the expert.
Mezzo-soprano Adriana Bignani Lesca, who plays Cleopatra’s handmaiden and has a kiss scene with another woman, thinks the opera should have a coordinator of intimate scenes.
In the United States and Great Britain, such experts have previously been used in the creation of television shows and operas.
In January, famous Spanish opera singer Plácido Domingo was again accused of sexual harassment – three years after similar allegations forced him to apologize and marred his career. Domingo denies any wrongdoing.
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