14/03/2017 Newsnight


In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Evan Davis. Will we end up splitting with Europe AND splitting the United Kingdom?

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Lights down for the big fight, round two.


The issue is the end of the United Kingdom.


First, who decides on a second Scottish referendum,


And then the substantive argument, should Scotland leave one


We'll look at the link between Scottish independence and Brexit.


Will Theresa May be tempted to water down the latter


Will Theresa May be tempted to water down the latter to avoid the former?


Also tonight, the Netherlands prepares to vote tomorrow.


We ask the Prime Minister will he be another domino in the fall of


Not if I can help it. I am fighting to win. I have called this the


quarter-finals. The half-finals will be the French elections and the


finals will be the German elections. .


And speaking of Europe, why has the Dutch boss


of the Royal Opera House relocated Wagner to a London gentleman's club?


Hello, we knew our nation was at a crossroads -


but now it looks more like spaghetti junction.


The issues of Brexit, Scotland and the union


The re-shaping of the UK could be as dramatic as anything we've


And at the helm of the UK and Scotland as this plays out,


two women; each seeing this as the moment for history to be


made, each diametrically opposed to each other and neither facing


strong opposition from other parties.


Today, Nicola Sturgeon said the timing of a second Scottish


referendum should be decided by Scotland - Made in


Well, it could be an interesting few years.


Before we hear about the dilemma for Theresa May in working out how


to respond to Nicola Sturgeon's request for a referendum,


let's look at the diary and see the key dates.


As far as Brexit is concerned - we trigger the process


We'll get initial reactions and then negotiation proper will probably


start after the French election in May.


The EU has said it wants a draft deal by September next year,


that can be signed off by everyone by March 2019 - that's the date


that Britain would leave the EU, deal or no deal.


So how does a Scottish referendum fit around that?


Well, Nicola Sturgeon says the second referendum should be


after any deal is known, but before we actually leave.


Then even if Scotland is dragged out of the EU,


it can already be preparing to get back in.


Theresa May wants Brexit out of the way first.


Before that would be the "worst possible timing" she says.


After that, it gets tangled up in the UK


General Election - May 2020.


And after that, it gets tangled up with the next Scottish


Well, Theresa May does not want a second Scottish


referendum; the SNP did have it in their manifesto.


And most ferociously we have to expect, over the timing of one.


But there is another dimension - Theresa May could use


Scotland as a reason to soften her demands for Brexit.


Make the demands more Scotland friendly.


That would upset her Brexiteer colleagues, but if she doesn't,


Nick Watt has been looking at calculations that might be


One United Kingdom. Two leaders and a third referendum? Just when you


thought it was safe to venture outside, another vote emerges over


the horizon. If we have learned one lesson over


the last three years, it is that referendums are dangerous for the


losers and the winners. So both Nicola Sturgeon and Theresa May face


a perilous path as Indr Ref 2 Hoves into view. Theresa May looks as if


she's going to have a hard Brexit, which is going to be very, very bad


for the United Kingdom and that is playing into the hands, as - has


played into the hands of Nicola Sturgeon, because it gives her this


extra reason, strengthens her argument for coming out of the


United Kingdom because Scotland voted to stay and Nicola Sturgeon is


also taking a risk with the referendum, I don't think there is


any guarantee she's going to get it through and if she doesn't get it


through, then her career is finished and the SNP are in great


difficulties, so it's a very high risk strategy for both women.


Westminster still retains ultimate sovereignty over Scotland and yes,


there is a slimmed down Scotland office in Whitehall. This means that


Nicola Sturgeon has to ask to hold a legally binding referendum on


independence. Once that request has been tabled, after a vote in


Holyrood, Theresa May faces a headache. If the Prime Minister


rejects a referendum in the course of this UK parliament, she risks


inflaming Scottish nationalists. Just imagine, if Theresa May adopts


this line, just imagine the campaign that's going to take place to


illustrate they're breaking manifesto commitments and trying to


stop the First Minister fulfilling a manifesto commitment in defiance of


the view of the Scottish parliament. For goodness sake. I mean, that's


the sort of - Theresa May talks about a cliff-edge as far as Brexit


is concerned, that's the sort of abyss that David Cameron once looked


over. David Cameron granted that referendum to avoid a stand


Catalonian-style standoff. The man who was Scotland's Secretary at the


time of Indy Ref one says the nationalists would struggle to claim


they're on a par with the Catalans because they were granted a proper


vote. We did that, the Catalanian standoff was avoided. The problem


for the SNP was they didn't get the answer they wanted so it was perhaps


in their views not as decisive as they wanted it to be. I don't accept


this attitude on the part of political parties who say, we have


had a referendum, we don't agree with the result, we are going to ask


people to do it all over again because we hope there will be a


different result. I don't think that's fair and I don't think that's


particularly democratic. But one veteran of Labour's battles with the


SNP says Brexit is complicating Westminster's arguments against a


second referendum. Nicola Sturgeon is saying she wants Scotland to be


independent, able to make its own decisions, not to be part of the


United Kingdom, held in and controlled by the other countries in


the United Kingdom. Theresa May is wanting to take the United Kingdom


out of the European Union again to keep sovereignty and to a country


that's independent and not controlled by, or influenced by the


other countries in the European Union. So it's a very much the same


argument. Scotland's First Minister at the time of the referendum


rejects one of Number 10's central arguments against a second vote.


That both sides agreed to abide by the result. Nicola Sturgeon is a new


First Minister. With a fresh mandate from the Scottish people saying that


under the circumstances of Scotland being dragged out of Europe against


the will of the Scottish people, the Scottish parliament should hold a


referendum on independence, as clear as day.


To stave off a second referendum, Theresa May will embark on a tour of


all four corners of the UK to drum up support for her Brexit plan. No


doubt she will gloss over a similar save the union tour by John Major in


1997 as part of her unsuccessful campaign against the Scottish


parliament. History can move in circles.


So let's get a taste of views from Scotland.


Two and a half years ago, the country was electrified


by its referendum, but also fiercely divided.


The polls indicate that opinion is still divided,


Here are some views from Glasgow today.


There's so much stuff the SNP are not doing


on the groundwork that you say well, how can this be?


How can you ask us to vote Yes for independence when ultimately


you can't give us any kind of guarantees about the future?


I wasn't at all surprised that she made the announcement.


Although a bit earlier than I expected.


And, of course, she feels she's in the driving seat now


because she has the people on her side, but to be


honest the situation has changed since 2014.


So it may well be that a Yes vote would be on the cards for next year.


I think it's definitely too early to call another


referendum election in like 2018, 2019, there is so much uncertainty


I think we voted 55% for being in the UK, 45% against.


So for Miss Sturgeon asking for this, she's essentially wanting


to go against the majority of the Scottish population.


I think it's a good idea being independent but I think


the First Minister is just taking it too soon, I think she should wait


for the Brexit deal to be done, then she can take it from there.


The big difference between this independence referendum


in Scotland and the last one - of course - is that it will all take


And that's something that will cause a lot of head


scratching not just here - but in Brussels and the rest


Our Diplomatic Editor, Mark Urban, is here.


How have European leaders received this idea that this is complicating


a factor that Scotland might itself try and separate from the UK? I


think complicating factor is understating it. There is


consternation and concern, diplomats don't like negotiations to fragment,


to be getting wider when they should be getting narrower, the iruse


multiply. I will fragment this programme and mention Northern


Ireland which you haven't mentioned easterly, both Scotland and Northern


Ireland are possibly on the road to something here and there is concern.


Now people I have spoken to today emphasised that with the case of


Scotland it must be an enabling decision by Theresa May and the


British parliament that allows that to happen. They don't want a sort of


unilateral Scottish referendum. Here is a former Polish Foreign Minister.


We have here two competing principles, the right


to self-determination and the inviability of borders.


So I don't think anybody would object to a cessation


that is done according to the constitution


What would make people very nervous would be any unilateral


That point well made. The Spanish are always a big player in this


because of Catalan. Mentioned by Nick and you, 2014, they tried to go


for it, the constitutional court and the upper House in Spain wouldn't


let them. Of course it was a damp squib. Europe did not recognise the


results of the vote and did not give them what they wanted in that sense.


So that is a warning blow. Look, they've got those sort of issues in


mind, the Spanish, the Belgians and other countries. Some other


countries are more friendly to the idea of Scottish independence but in


the end they've also got to consider the question of if these major


questions about Scotland and Northern Ireland don't get resolved


until after the Brexit negotiations is completed, won't that make for a


simpler negotiation and won't it also make for a British Prime


Minister who is under more pressure from those factors to agree to


single market type terms? Mark, thank you very much.


I'm now joined by passionate unionist and Conservative


And Kirsty Blackman MP, who is on the SNP's


Evening to you. Let's just find out about this, do you agree it has to


be a Westminster sanctioned referendum and there is no go it


alone referendum? That's a process that we are doing, Nicola set out we


are putting forward the section 30 agreement and putting that to the UK


Government in an attempt to try to get agreement there. It would be an


illegitimate vote if it wasn't agreed to by Theresa May? It's not


something we are planning to do. Right. Who gets to decide the timing


of this? Who do you think gets to decide the timing of a second


Scottish referendum? I think your answer answered the question, it's


got to be a parliamentary vote in Westminster that gives authority and


legitimacy to that. The people who control the parliamentary timetable


is the Government. That's what governments do. So I think that the


Government will have an important say probably an overriding say in


deciding what time the referendum will take place. And should the


Government listen to the Scottish Government's advice on that or


should the British UK Government say, well, we don't like you having


a referendum, you can go it after 2021? I am not speaking for the


Prime Minister but from my point of view it seems odd that they should


have a vote before Brexit has been completed. Because I think as Mark


suggested, it completely complicates and confuses the issue. I would say


that they should think - Brexit be over and done be, and then clear the


table, and then we can have a referendum. That seems like a


reasonable way to proceed. Scotland did not support Brexit, we


overwhelmingly voted against. And the SNP were voted in with the


majority of the constituency vote. Our manifesto said we would hold a


referendum especially in these circumstances. The timing is a bit


more complicated. The British Government and you are part of the


UK and Europe population voted to be part of the UK, May say we do not


want this complicated. In terms of the timeline we have chosen the EU


timeline. Michel Barnier said they would spend 18 months negotiating


and six months ratifying. So the shape of Brexit will be known. We


will not know it is going to be ratified, Parliament could throw a


spanner in the works. It surely would be useful to know what the


final deal is. At that stage we will know the shape of the deal or it is


no deal. Those are the options at that stage. Those of the options


that Scotland will be faced with. It seems bizarre timing because in


September 2018 we will know the shape of the deal but it will not


have been ratified, that will take six months to ratify the deal and to


have a Scottish referendum in the middle of the process of ratifying


Brexit to me seems you are confusing the issue. That seems to be a


bizarre time frame for a referendum. September 2019, that is quite close


to the UK general election. There are a couple of issues, the main


thing is to get Brexit over and done with. We know Scotland voted against


but as a whole the UK voted for it. I think is reasonable to say let's


get Brexit over and done with before embarking on another campaign. Would


you accept a September 2019? We have put forward a compromise edition and


continue to do so and we have moved a mile from our original proposals


and the UK Government have not moved an inch. So the door is still open


for compromise. You mean compromise on Scottish access to the single


market? That is what we put forward. Let's talk about the negotiation for


Brexit because one theory would be that Theresa May could soften her


Brexit in order to perhaps make it more like -- more likely that


Scotland would stay in the UK. The problem is you completely forget the


fact there are 27 other countries we are negotiating with about Brexit.


We do not have a choice. They might want us to be in the single market.


We do not know what they were like, but the position will be. So to


frame the idea or notion that somehow the Prime Minister could say


I'm going to soft in this together another deal on the other side, I do


not think it is realistic. You're dealing with the EU, negotiating not


with just Nicola Sturgeon. If the British Government tried to get


something closer to single market access for the whole UK, not the


special Scotland arrangement you have come up with but something


closer, a softer Brexit, would that then stymie that? Theresa May in the


face of all evidence to the contrary is trying to proceed with this hard


Brexit. But would it make a difference if it was soft. She has


had loads of evidence suggesting hard Brexit is damaging. Tens of


thousands of jobs being lost in Scotland. And nothing so far has


made her soften stance and I do not imagine this would do so. It almost


sounded earlier as if you were saying that there was still time for


a deal. You said you'd been trying to get the deal and she has not


moved an inch. I'm interested in what that inch would have to be for


you to say the referendum would be put back in the box. We've spoken


about single market access for Scotland, but it would be beneficial


for the whole of the UK. And if the EU said you cannot have that, and


Donald Tusk at one point said it is hard Brexit or no Brexit, if the EU


did not allow single market access, with that then mean you would say we


will stick with Brexit. If Theresa May was to begin to prioritise the


needs of British citizens and the task of Scotland, that would be a


compromise position. How do you interpret what hearing? Well the


other problem is what the premises suggested we were doing, essentially


playing games, as Nicola Sturgeon is doing. This is the negotiation and


her saying we will have a referendum in September 2019 is an opening


gambit. She's saying I'm going to threaten you with a referendum if


you do not accede to my terms Brexit. I do not think the Prime


Minister, I do not know her especially well, but I do not think


she will be... Playing hardball on that might lead to the


disintegration of the UK. I think the independence issue will be


debated on its own merits. A third of the people who voted yes actually


voted for Brexit. That never comes up. But it is an issue. Some people


in Scotland, a large number, want independence from Britain but also


want independence from Brussels. So that is a big issue. We need to


leave it there. Thank you both. The Conservative MP Craig Mackinley,


who beat Nigel Farage in the Thanet South seat at the last


general election, has been interviewed by police over


the election spending There are strict rules


on what can be spent - the Conservatives have been accused


of bussing in party workers to marginal seats, and not counting


the spending as part The charges are the subject


of police investigations in different seats,


and an Electoral Commission The issue is also causing tensions


within the Tory party. Let's talk to our political


editor, Nick Watt. What has actually happened today?


Well to developments in this long-running story about whether the


Tories as you said have been using general election funding that should


have been for national spending on a local spend. Craig Mackinley was


interviewed under caution by police. He defeated Nigel Farage but Ukip


leader in that campaign and Nigel Farage said if there was to be a


by-election he could run again. And also in that campaign Theresa May's


chief of staff helped out in the campaign and the allegation is that


national funds were used to pay for hotel rooms for those staff. And the


second development is that, Carney, Conservative MP for Lincoln, one of


the MPs under investigation, has written a blistering e-mail to the


party chairman Sir Patrick McLoughlin effectively saying the


leadership is casting these MPs adrift. This e-mail is strongly


worded and shows the strength, it was forced reported by Sky News and


it says to Patrick McLoughlin, at what dazed you think you the bad


gene -- the party might inform us that another media storm is coming.


We did not create this mess, GCHQ did and their professional


reputations are not being trashed. What is Newsnight learned about


these investigations? Within the cabinet I'm hearing a confidence


that there will not be successful criminal prosecutions. I'm told for


that to happen you would have to prove intent, intent to deceive. And


this source told me on the central thing, this point about National


buses going locally and not being declared locally, it would be


difficult to say an MP intended to deceive on that. They may have been


naive but no intent to deceive. But Newsnight has significant


development on the story, we've spoken to a senior Tory figure who


has told Newsnight there is going to be trouble for the party but not


fatal trouble. This figure says, the party will definitely be fined for


breaking the rules, but this was then says they will be surprised if


there are criminal prosecutions and interestingly finally, the source


said they would be surprised if any of the MPs under investigation are


officially a formally unseeded and obliged to defend their seat in a


by-election. Thank you very much. A much anticipated general election


that will either be the latest uprising led by the forces


of populism, or the first recent The far-right candidate,


Geert Wilders, with his anti-Islam, anti-EU rhetoric,


is at or near the top His Freedom Party probably


won't take control of government - that would require coalition


partners he doesn't have. But his candidacy has put


the Netherlands at the centre of international attention,


as they cope with a diplomatic crisis with Turkey,


fears of Russian hacking, and the attention of


the American right. Gabriel Gatehouse has this


report from the Hague. Usually a laid-back affair,


comfortably ignored This time the European establishment


is wondering whether Dutch votes Among the 28 parties


vying for seats, one man The rise of Geert Wilders has left


mainstream politicians reeling. Close the borders, ban


the Koran, leave the EU The elites are struggling


to formulate a response. This morning, through the window


of a cafe on a Hague side street, the Prime Minister was taking


questions from passers by. It was a slightly awkward affair,


broadcast live on TV. In response to Geert Wilders,


he too is taking a hard Sometimes the Prime Minister told


on TV and the newspapers that people with a background that doesn't


want to belong here, just go away. And if the Prime Minister


is speaking like that, it hurts, you know, you feel like,


am I part of the Can I ask you a question in English,


from Newsnight on the BBC? Is Holland going to be the next


domino to fall in the sudden death So I'm fighting,


I'm fighting to win. And I have called this


the quarterfinals. The half finals will be the French


elections and the finals will be And this can be the first election


in five elections in a row, having had Brexit, having had


the Trump election in the US. This being the third


in a row of five. This is going to be the first one


way this domino stone So thank you very much


for this excellent question. And my compliments for your


excellent programme on BBC Two every Members of Parliament are elected


by proportional representation. Dutch politics is all about


consensus, not handbrake turns. The Dutch system basically


enforces compromise. Whatever happens in the election,


there will be a coalition, And in fact, Geert Wilders


even if he wins the largest number of seats, might not end up


being part of that coalition. But his power lies not in the fact


that he might become Prime Minister, His power lies in his ability


to shake things up. There were riots on the


streets this weekend. Such is the tension now


about the question of Islam, the government decided it was unsafe


for a Turkish Minister to visit. Some Dutch citizens of Turkish


origin were very unhappy. Others who witnessed


the violence were thinking well, They had flags from Turkey


and they yelled and they How does it make you feel


about this election coming up? I think many people will decide


to choose for Geert Wilders. By the law of unintended


consequences, an attempt to appease the Geert Wilders vote has led


to a diplomatic crisis. Turkey has suspended high-level


diplomatic relations Such discord between Nato allies


will come as an unexpected bonus to the Kremlin,


which has already cast its shadow Amid fears of Russian


hacking, the vote will be I asked the Dutch interior minister


what evidence he had seen I saw a cloud hanging


over our election results where people could conceivably


in this very polarised atmosphere that we also currently have


in the Dutch political landscape, conceivably argue that the result


would not be fair. And I decided I did not


want to take any risk with that. The mere fact of what was publicly


debated in the United States, in combination with the public


concern right now about conceivable interference, is sufficient


for me to decide this. But you appreciate it is a very


different in to say we want to eliminate all doubt,


but we have no evidence, to saying there is evidence


and therefore we have taken action. And what I say is we want to


eliminate all doubt and I don't... The Interior Ministry hired


a cyber security company to assess the vulnerability


of their electoral system. Fox IT had previously investigated


attempts to hack the Dutch government enquiry into the downing


of the Malaysian airline MH17 by a group known


as Fancy Bear or APT28, thought to be connected


to Russian intelligence. If we look at this group as APT28


and their previous targets, the White House, Nato Allied


countries, the Democratic National Committee in the US,


the Dutch security board, so yes, it makes sense


that it is their daily job to breach Dutch organisations and ministries


to get information and to get information and an advantage


in the things that they're doing There is no suggestion


the Russians are trying to help Geert Wilders,


but then he has His vision of a West swamped


by immigrants has been influential So it is five minutes to 12


for you guys as well. Here he is in Florida in 2014,


speaking at an event hosted by David Horowitz,


who is close to some of the most senior figures


in the Trump White House and who has given more than 100,000 euros


to the Geert Wilders campaign. I did not support Geert Wilders


because he anti-Islam. I support him because he's standing


up for free speech in Europe. I think all of us are happy


with Brexit and happy with the restoration


of the nation state. Because, you know, the EU


is an undemocratic bureaucracy. Geert Wilders took part


in a televised debate last night but otherwise he rarely campaigns


in public, preferring When the Prime Minister arrived


for a rally in The Hague this A pack of journalists


in search of a crisis. A politician in search


of an election. Polls will shut at 8.00pm our time -


there will be a decent The formal result based on a full


manual count takes a while - And so to France -


the other big election this spring. Marine Le Pen still leading


the polls for the first round - but trailing Emmanuel Macron


in the second. The challenge for her is to win


in a second round, when the election comes down to the final two -


the polls show her losing then. But much of the drama is not around


the top two candidates - it concerns number three,


Francois Fillon of the centre rght. He was ahead, poised to be


president, but has been caught up in a scandal,


allegedly hiring his own family for non-jobs


at the expense of the taxpayer. He has now been placed under


formal investigation Earlier I spoke to French


journalist Christine Ockrent. I asked her what happened


to Francois Fillon today, and how significant today's


development is for his campaign? Well, Evan, it's yet another turn


in this incredible presidential The Conservative candidate


has been put under full investigation by the judges,


which is really one step away from being formally charged


for embezzlement with public funds. You know, paying his wife and


children for supposedly fake jobs. Now, that investigation now


is going to take months. So paradoxically, if Fillion


was to be elected, which I very much doubt at this stage,


he would be off the track for five years because the French President


cannot be put to trial when actually What is interesting, though,


is that the core constituency of Francois Fillon is convinced


that he is a victim. Victim of, you know,


leftist media conspiracy, And so his core constituency,


however they have shrunk, The thing is that Francois Fillon


won the primaries, the Conservative And that he has been extremely


stubborn and indeed resilient in saying to his so-called political


friends, look, I'm the only And no other one can


actually step in. They've got until Friday to find


another candidate, is that right? The last, last day that they could


replace him is this week, and then the election rule


is you are stuck And my opinion is that


Francois Fillon will remain What effect can the Dutch election


have on the French election, Well, I think that if Geert Wilders,


who I think has been much overplayed by the French media for obvious


reasons, you know, the comparison If Geert Wilders does not get more


votes than the outgoing centre-right Prime Minister,


I think that will be bad news for Marine Le Pen because it


will show that that populist wave Although of course the Dutch


system is very different from ours because it's


a proportional vote whereas in France again it's


the majority vote and that's why Marine Le Pen has only two seats


in our Parliament today. Well we're watching that one closely


as we continue to do. Now if you wanted to escape


all the talk of Brexit by enjoying a night at the opera,


be careful, because there are hints The Danish citizen Kasper Holten,


has been director of opera at the Royal Opera House since 2011;


he has returned to his Danish homeland, leaving opera-goers


with an epic five-hour Wagner It's usually set in the 16th century


but Holten has introduced a more modern setting and -


not for the first time in his career It's being seen as a nod


to the changing political climate I could never do it


big enough for Kasper! I can't draw enough


attention to myself. He's 100 miles an hour and it's


very difficult to catch I used to be kind of the engine,


you know, running around and I still do that but he puts me


in the shade. Kasper Holten, for the past six


years the energetic Dane in charge of opera at London's


Royal Opera House. Holten's now departed leaving


as his swansong a new take on Wagner's Die Meistersinger von


Nurnberg. Instead of the usual setting


in a small German town, Holten's moved the opera to a smart


London gentleman's club. It talks a lot about guilt and clubs


and groups and tradition. I must admit coming to London


understanding that there are still clubs where women are not


allowed members in 2017, that that's even legal,


was to me a shock and that sense of tradition is something that


I think must be subverted. Wagner's Meistersinger


is all about subverting It tells the story of a guild


of master singers who hold The prize, remember this is set more


than 500 years ago, is marriage Into the fray comes an outsider


with a very different Nurnberg is a village, it becomes


alive in the Meistersinger and then this new virus comes into town that


keeps these old men on the balls of their feet and will


they accept something new? Die Meistersinger is about change


and about the new but also So of course you could bring our


Brexit into a piece like this. I think it's very timely,


there is change everywhere and we just have to look


here in England, in America, It's topical, you know,


there is kind of a sinister This populist kind of message that's


going out from a lot of politicians When you're directing


Meistersinger a lot of people ask about nationalism


what are you going to do about that because there is a famous speech


towards the end where it's about national identity


and national tradition. In the opera Bryn Terfel's


character sings of fighting for a sovereign Germany in the face


of foreign invaders. On the surface, he's


referring to German music traditions but the undertone


is about much more. You can say it's an opera


about Brexit, you can say it's an opera about populism,


you can say it's an opera about London in the sense that


all these things are about change. All these things are about fear,


about people struggling with how For sure, there are resonances


of the language around Brexit when you hear people talk


about the fear of foreign influences, the need to pull


back from the world. So certainly it feels very topical


in that sense but to say it's an opera about Brexit would make it


much more simple than it is. Kasper Holten isn't just


reflecting on Brexit, Trump and populism in this opera


but also looking back on his time in London where he hasn't always


been met with acclaim. A production he oversaw that


depicted a violent rape on stage William Tell by Rossini


a couple of years ago which famously here had a real,


you know, on first night there was a chorus of boos


and it felt very angry. There was a lot of people


in the audience really didn't So, of course when I have to portray


on stage a community reacting to an artist they don't like that


would be the natural Like it's really, everyone is like,


I am sorry is it just me, is this I had an almost physical reaction


remembering what it was like that I can't imagine, I don't know


what it would be like to stand on the stage having just offered up


something that you really care about and have people yell boo


at you and it's vicious. If the production was about me


trying to say boo you back how primitive and stupid


and uninteresting would that be? The opera is not about Kasper


and not about Kasper's experiences but it's me trying to make it


real and personal. Perhaps the most personal


touch in this opera He's changed the ending, not


for the first time in his career, rejecting Wagner's happily ever


after finale where the tenor gets the girl and joins


the Meistersinger singers. In Holten's production,


she turns them all down Somewhat controversial, it's a nod,


albeit a subtle one, to a rejection of populism


of any kind. Hello. In the clearer rural parts of


eastern and northern England and Scotland tonight there could be a


touch of frost around but sunny spells to begin the day tomorrow. A


lot of cloud in the west from the word go tomorrow. Damp and drizzly


in the morning


Will we end up splitting with Europe AND splitting the United Kingdom? Election expenses. Dutch elections. French elections. Wagner comes to the Royal Opera House.

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