BBC Investigating Sir. John Eliot Gardiner Following Altercation with Bass at Berlioz Festival

By Francisco Salazar

Sir. John Eliot Gardiner is under investigation after having allegedly punched bass William Thomas backstage at the Berlioz Festival in France.

According to reports in the Telegraph and Slipped Disc, Gardiner attacked Thomas backstage on Tuesday, August 22, 2023, during a performance of Berlioz’s “Les Troyens” because he exited the podium on the wrong side after the first part of the opera.

According to Slipped Disc, Gardiner “rebuked the singer in front of the cast before he slapped and punched him in the face.”

The Telegraph said the BBC is investigating the incident because Gardiner is scheduled to perform during the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall on Sept. 3. A spokesman for the corporation said, “We take allegations about inappropriate behaviour seriously, and are currently establishing the facts about the incident.”

Gardiner’s Representatives told the outlets that “the incident may have arisen as a result of a recent change in medication, adding that Sir. John had been suffering from ‘extreme heat’ in France.”

Gardiner is reported to have left La Côte-Saint-Andre to return to Britain to his doctor and his assistant Dinis Sousa will take over the August 23 performance at the Berlioz Festival.