The Telegraph critic Rupert Christiansen defends his position amidst a storm of controversy.

The opera community has united against remarks made about one of the artists in the new Glyndebourne production of Der Rosenkavalier. As Limelightreported yesterday, controversy was sparked when five critics made disparaging observations regarding Irish mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught’s physical appearance with scant reference to her musical ability.

In response to the public outcry, and to vindicate the criticisms, The Daily Telegraphpublished an editorial by its critic Rupert Christiansen who had labelled Erraught as “dumpy of stature” with an “intractable physique”. Simply titled “I stand by every word”, the article addresses claims of sexism, a lack of professionalism, and critical integrity but for many it appears to have opened up a whole new can of worms.

Christiansen’s defence rests on his statement that “Octavian is a young nobleman, conceived by Strauss and his librettist Hofmannsthal as a Principal Boy-type and most successfully incarnated in the past by taller or more strapping mezzo-sopranos such as Anne Sofie von Otter or Sarah Connolly,” adding that Erraught “fails to make it credible that she would be having an affair with the Marschallin, fighting a duel with Ochs or...

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