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Wednesday 29 August 2018

Who’s Afraid Of Michael Volpe?

Opera Holland Park, or more correctly nowadays Investec Opera Holland Park, so the blurb goes, “is widely regarded as one of the most exciting, innovative and accomplished opera companies in the UK, with an extraordinary history of producing rarities, alongside popular favourites. Whether novice or aficionado, OHP has something to offer - and all taking place in one of the most beautiful covered spaces in the capital”.
Michael Volpe

OHP’s General Director is Michael Volpe, who, when he is not thus directing, includes a moderately opinionated Twitter feed among his pursuits. On that feed, he has let the world know that he is not impressed with efforts to smear Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, to the extent of joining the party, something he confirmed earlier this week.
His Tweet was to the point: “Consequences of this hourly smear campaign against Corbyn and the left; 1. Joined the Labour party (never done that before) 2. Started following people with images of Fidel Castro in their profiles 3. Thinking [people] I have long admired or respected are complete tosseurs”.

This mood of moderate levity, though, did not last, as Volpe then received what can only be described as a veiled threat to the business in which he is involved. This came from Ben Weich, who covers UK news for the Jewish Chronicle.
I was wondering if you have had any backlash to this Tweet - specifically regarding the ongoing row involving Mr Corbyn and anti-Semitism?” he asked. Then came the less pleasant part. “Another interesting point is that Investec - who I understand sponsor Opera Holland Park - is a company with longstanding ties to the Jewish community … [have] there been any ramifications professionally?
This, of course, could have been a genuine enquiry from Weich, and so Volpe kept the discussion in the polite and reasoned arena. “Hi Ben, backlash in what way? My Tweet doesn’t mention anti-Semitism … it was specifically in response to David Aaronovitch’s reference to the Warrington bomb [and] Red Action, actually”.
Weich was not so jocular in his next response. “I see … so what we [!] picked up on was the ‘smear campaign’ remark … there are some in the community who might see that as undermining their concerns”. Ri-i-i-i-ght.

One hates to be picky, but the difference between Weich’s approach to Volpe, and saying “That’s a nice Opera Holland Park you’ve got there, Michael … it’d be a pity if something was to happen to it”, does not appear to be significant. That’s quite apart from the impression that Volpe was having his Twitter feed monitored.
What is Ben Weich’s problem, and indeed the JC’s? Can’t Michael Volpe join the Labour Party and say that he has done so, without having his business threatened?

The impression is given that some opponents of the current Labour leadership are getting a little too enthusiastic. Perhaps taking a step back is in order at this point.
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Anonymous said...

Someone should tell Welch that his bullshit has probably added another 10,000 Corbyn supporters.

The "antisemitism" claptrap has now reached such farcical proportions it's beginning to collapse of its own absurdity.

Which means Benn, Umunna and Mann will have to sponsor alternative smears. Or, better still, get the fuck out of the Labour Party and join the nastzi party.

Unknown said...

Not sure if it's relevant but Wolpe is a prominent supporter of Grenfell Tower victims and survivors. Opera Holland Park has a an honourable history of community involvement and is the opposite of elitist.

Anonymous said...

That's a nice little opera house you have there Mr Volpe, it would be a shame if something happened to it

We really have woken up in a bad B movie

Michael Volpe said...

Thank you for saying that Stephen.
People who know me are aware that I am ferociously antiracist - indeed, most of my intemperance tends to come in that realm! And that includes towards antisemitism. I don’t know why Ben/JC picked me out for such a tweet but it has caused me some anxiety.

Anonymous said...


It is good to have another voice calling out the ridiculous smears.

Jeremy has caused the establishment to show its real face in ways so extreme that I feel sometimes we have arrived fully formed in Orwell's great novel.

A bit melodramatic I know but I have never seen the machine move so obviously and in complete synchronization, it has opened my eyes.

Doom and despair aside and as I don't use Twitter may I take this opportunity to say "welcome to the party"

Nibs said...

The establishment? Must we still mince words?

Can I suggest you look at the "Canary Mission" methods in the USA? Subject of a hitherto quashed Al Jazeera investigation programme.

Anyone willing to defend Palestinians on social media gets the same treatment. Anonymous Zionist trolls contacted my employer, posted my LinkedIn photos etc. No repercussions but quite intimidating.

My stalker inadvertently revealed himself, a pillar of his community etc.

Jonathan said...

Great to have you a member of Labour, Michael, your doing great work bringing opera to a much wider audience.

One of the ironic things with all these smears, it's driving more to join Labour. So either Messers Bomber Benn, Phillips, Chukka and Berger either apologise and show humility or will likely face deselection.

Anonymous said...

I deeply resent coming to a page that says you are sending my IP to google without any option on my part. It is not alright to casually assume I won't mind you sharing information about me.