Black child actor ranted ‘rubbish’ while singing at the Royal Opera House

Malakai was verbally abused and called “garbage” on the first night of the show (Image: Elliott Franks)

The Royal Opera House has banned a theatergoer who berated a 12-year-old actor, calling him “rubbish”.

Malakai M Bayoh was met with boos and heckling as he sang his lines on the opening night of Handel’s opera Alcina on Tuesday.

A member of the crowd shouted “Trash!” before being silenced by other people in the audience.

The heckler then left the show, it said.

The Royal Opera House (ROH) said it was “appalled” by the outbreak and that the disruptive viewer had been banned for life.

Financial Times Assistant Arts Editor Josh Spero tweeted, saying the “most disgusting thing that happened” was the production.

“A 12-year-old boy was sweetly singing his lines when a man in the audience yelled, ‘Crap!’ and booed him,” he wrote.

“Who would do that to a child?

“When the boy finished, the audience responded with wild applause and cheers.”

The Times’ Rebecca Franks reported “disgusting behavior by a spectator at the Alcina at the Royal Opera House”.

“He was booing and teasing the boy who was singing (in a nice way) Oberto,” she posted.

“Fortunately, the rest of the audience drowned out the heckling with extra loud, hearty applause. But seriously, who boos a kid?’

Others soon shared this disdain online with a tweet: “Paying for a ticket doesn’t give people the right to act as they please.”

In a statement, a spokesman for ROH said: “Malakai is amazingly talented, bringing great acting and beautiful singing to the role – a great achievement for such a young singer.

“Unfortunately, on the opening night of Alcina, there was a spectator who disrupted the show and Malakai’s excellent performance.

“We are appalled that a member of the audience acted in this way and we support Malakai and the Alcina cast and creative team.

“Steps have been taken to ensure that the viewer in question does not return to the Royal Opera House.”

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Justin Scacco

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