Entertainment & Arts

Royal Albert Hall singer asked to change 'pro-EU' dress

Anna Patalong Image copyright Benedict Nelson
Image caption Anna Patalong described her outfit choice as "rocking some EU colours"

An opera singer was asked to change her EU flag themed dress for a concert at London's Royal Albert Hall.

British soprano Anna Patalong sang in six performances of the Classical Spectacular concert from 21 to 24 March.

On Saturday, Patalong wore a sash and necklace featuring EU stars.

The show's producer, Raymond Gubbay Ltd, encouraged her to wear another dress on Sunday, as the outfit was "open to misinterpretation".

Patalong's husband, the baritone Benedict Nelson, claimed on social media that "my wife was asked to change her dress from yellow and blue at the RAH as the colours were too provocative".

He said in a separate post: "If you can't enjoy a three hour concert because a performer wears some visible gold stars for 3 minutes of it, you need to have a word with yourself."

Nelson also shared a picture of his wife in the dress she wore for Saturday's concert.

Producer Raymond Gubbay Ltd told the BBC they had received one complaint from a member of the public about the dress, but that didn't play a part in their decision to encourage Patalong to wear a different outfit.

The decision, the company said, came down to the fact that they preferred the red dress she had worn on the previous two evenings and felt it was more appropriate attire for a classical concert.

Patalong reverted to the red dress for the Sunday show.

The Classical Spectacular concert is described as "the UK's most popular classical show" and has been running for 30 years.

The show's finale creates an atmosphere similar to that at Last Night of the Proms, and features patriotic songs like Rule Britannia.

Patalong's dress was not the only way in which she showed her support for the EU during Saturday's concert.

Her husband shared a video of the soprano briefly singing the lyrics of Rule Britannia to the tune of Beethoven's Ode to Joy, which is the basis of the EU's Anthem of Europe.

Earlier on Saturday, Patalong was one of the hundreds of thousands of people who marched in central London calling for another EU referendum.

She also posted a picture of herself with Independent Group MPs Anna Soubry and Chuka Umunna.

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