21 May 2008

A fight at the opera

On this day in 2008 there was uproar at the London’s Royal Opera House as violence disrupted a performance of Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra. The UEFA Champions League final between Chelsea and Manchester United was being played in Moscow, and as mobile phones were not permitted in the auditorium, the management posted regular updates on the auditorium’s subtitle screens.

Events descended into chaos as members of the audience began cheering Chelsea’s equalising goal. The performance was abandoned when fighting broke out, and staff struggled to contain the violence until police arrived. Thirteen men were arrested, and Covent Garden announced that they would be banned for life. Electronic updates have not been used for subsequent matches.

Manchester United players celebrate victory
Picture: PA

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