Fat lady sings: Petition to stop Madrid theatre using live bull in opera performance

Image of Capellans beach in Salou, Castellon. Credit: Google maps - Nestor Huerga

ANIMAL welfare activists in Madrid have gained public support for an intriguing petition hoping to quash the Madrid theatre, Teatro Real’s, designs to use a live bull on stage during a production.

The production in question is the opera, Moses and Aron, by Austrian-American composer Arnold Shoenberg, and will play at the Royal Theatre from May 24 to June 17.

According to the creative directors, the bull will appear during one of the scenes and will spend approximately 15 minutes gracing the stage.

However, even this relatively small amount of limelight has been deemed excessive by animal rights campaigners, who promptly reacted to the news by explaining that the bull will be frightened and distressed from the loud music and any live-fire used in the staging.

Furthermore, the animal would be under unnecessary stress from transportation to and from the theatre; activists have already expressed concerns that tranquilisers and other substances might be used to calm the animal.

40,000 people have so far signed in support of the petition.

The Teatro Real has countered accusations that the animal will be drugged or injected with any type of substance and that both its physical and mental health will be closely monitored by two specialists from French firm, Jacan Wildlife Studios. The company specialises in organising and transporting animals for filming, and has worked with noted directors including Luc Besson and Martin Scorsese.

The petition is gaining ground, whilst numerous citizens have already sent letters of protest to the Ministry of Culture in Spain and the Madrid  city council. However, it seems this may not deter the scandalous show from going ahead.

An analogous petition was signed by 30,000 people when the opera, a joint project of the Madrid Theatre and Paris Opera, premiered with the live bull in October 2015. The petition then was sent directly to France’s minister of culture for consideration.

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