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France

La Traviata cancelled in Montpellier as protestors occupy stage

Arts industry workers protest in Paris, 20th March.
Arts industry workers protest in Paris, 20th March. AFP PHOTO / LIONEL BONAVENTURE

Action by workers in the arts and entertainments sector led to the cancellation of the first night of Verdi’s La Traviata at Montpelier’s Opera house on Wednesday evening.

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It is the latest in a series of protests by technicians and others in the industry who oppose reforms to the system under which they receive payments when out of work.

A group of about a hundred protestors invaded the stage just before the performance was due to begin and a spokesperson for the activists explained their grievances to the audience.

The Director of the National Opera and Orchestra of Marseille, Valérie Chevalier, as well as the left-wing Mayor of the town, Philippe Saurel, both expressed their support for the movement.

However, after the speeches the activists refused to leave and half an hour later they voted to occupy the stage.

Valérie Chevalier then announced that the performance would have to be cancelled, and an irate audience whistled and booed.

France is at the start of its season of arts and music festivals and there are fears that summer programmes around the country will be significantly disrupted by strikes and industrial action, as in 2003 during an earlier attempt to reform the system.

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