A heckler has been banned from the Royal Opera House for life after shouting “rubbish” at a 12-year-old actor during a production of Handel’s opera Alcina.
The incident occurred while child actor Malakai M Bayoh was singing his lines at the opening night of the opera on Tuesday.
Other audience members shushed the heckler, who left soon after.
The crowd loudly applauded Bayoh, who has been well-reviewed for his performance.
Financial Times associate arts editor Josh Spero, who was in the audience, called the incident the “nastiest thing”.
“A 12-year-old boy was sweetly singing his lines when a man in the audience yelled, ‘Rubbish!’ and booed him,” he tweeted.
“Who would do that to a child?
“Once the boy was done, the audience responded with wild applause and cheering.”
In a statement, the Royal Opera House said that “steps had been taken” to ensure that the heckler does not return to the opera house.
“We would like to congratulate Malakai M Bayoh for his stellar performance as Oberto in our first night of Alcina”, the statement said.
“Malakai is astonishingly talented – bringing great acting and beautiful singing to the role – a huge accomplishment for such a young singer.
“Unfortunately, the opening night of Alcina featured an audience member who disrupted the show and Malakia’s excellent performance.
“We are appalled that a member of the audience behaved in this way and our support is with Malakia and the cast and creative team of Alcina.
“Steps have been taken to ensure the audience member in question does not return to the Royal Opera House.”