One of the critics defends his stance:
He does not exaggerate the response to the reviews; as I was going out the door the other morning I heard the announcer say they were about to open the phone lines on the subject - unheard of on the philistine LBC radio station. Opera has managed to become a hot news story even in a week when the news is dominated by the local and EU elections.
Thank you for providing this link. Let's look at the defense:
In the case of Glyndebourne's new staging, the director Richard Jones sought to make Octavian look more a gauche teenager than a self-assured aristocrat. Tara Erraught, the mezzo-soprano cast in the role, was given a Little Lord Fauntleroy-style, curly wig, a suit too tight in several places, and "bum-fluff" stubble on her chin. Her Octavian runs against what we assume to be true about the character, and in so doing disrupts our understanding of why, in each case, the three other characters want so desperately to get into her, sorry I mean his, trousers.
I'm not here to defend the choice of words some of my colleagues used, but no one seeing the performance could reasonably fail to comment on Octavian's appearance. Indeed, any reviewer not asking questions about this precise point would be failing in their duty to hold the production and its performance to account. None of the reviewers involved dispensed gratuitous misogyny. But this is what, in numerous newspaper articles and columns, radio programmes, and in thousands of tweets and Facebook posts, they stand accused of. Which is ridiculous.
Well, Guy, or guys, let's try this for starters:
"Tara Erraught, the fine singer cast as Octavian, was gravely hampered not only by a misguided re-conception of Octavian as a gauche teenager, but equally misguided and unflattering costume choices, which made Octavian's alleged irresistibility very much a matter of willing suspension of disbelief."
And that's just off the top of my head. I'm sure actual professional critics could come up with better. Or maybe not.
I guess it's also a good thing these writers weren't let loose on Melchior and Flagstad in "Tristan und Isolde." ("The sight of these elephantine singers lumbering about the stage made it quite impossible to accept them as Wagner's great lovers. Who could be attracted to this fat cow? A wasted evening for this critic.")