In a video to his fans, Vittorio Grigolo has put forward his version of the story of his alleged groping a colleague onstage while on tour with The Royal Opera. The action led to him being suspended from The Royal Opera and The Metropolitan Opera while there is an investigation. La Scala in Milan has confirmed that the tenor is currently rehearsing for performances of L’Elisir d’amore which he will appear in from 1 October.
According to the newspaper Rovigo Oggi, Grigolo was carried away by the adrenaline generated by the success of the performance and from the applause and, recalling a scene in Faust, jokingly touched the false belly of a dancer in the company. When the dancer protested, he told her to ‘fuck off’. The Royal Opera production has a scene during which the ‘pregnant’ woman offers him her belly to touch, an offer he refuses. The dancer concerned is presumably the person that can be seen behind Grigolo in his Instagram post of him taking his applause.
The misunderstanding could have been cleared up immediately afterwards as I asked The Royal Opera House to meet those involved so that we could clear the air.
Grigolo is famously animated during the applause after a performance.
During the applause I’m full of adrenalin, exuberant, impulsive, it’s even possible that I told someone to fuck off, in life you can’t be condemned for telling someone ‘where to go’, but when you’ve cooled down you should be given the opportunity, if you’ve made a mistake, to say sorry. Something I was denied. They took me away, put me on a plane and sent me home like a killer. I am calm about the situation and I await their decision.
A Japanese spectator wrote on Instagram (in, it must be said, her first and only post on the platform):
I watched the performance on September 18, 2019 with my friends. From our seats in the quite front area, the stage was clearly visible, and we were all observing the whole curtain call and watching Vittorio. We, including a friend who had a seat on the 1st row around the centre, did not notice any suspicious movement of Vittorio or any unusual reaction by other performers on the stage. We only noticed that Vittorio gently touched the fake belly part of the dress of the dancer who acted a pregnant woman. We understood that his behavior was for the audience to recall a scene from the opera, “Faust.” It was clearly part of his sincere performance from his enthusiasm to entertain the audience and we believe nothing to be blamed.
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Thanks Japan for all your support!!! It was special to come back and feel how warm all of you are. Tokyo has a really special place in my heart ❣ Thanks to all the wonderful cast and all the colleagues, chorus, dancers and orchestra of the Royal Opera House. A special thanks to Nbs, Nikkei and all the institutions that made this possible. See you soon!!! @royaloperahouse @ildebrandodarcangelo @rachelwillissorensen #love #passion #desire #happy #fun #emozioni #operawillneverdie #neverforgetwhoyouare❤️
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.