Nicole Kidman’s husband claims ‘violence at the opera’ as details of etiquette attack revealed

8 February 2021, 14:45 | Updated: 1 March 2021, 11:56

Sydney Opera House audience member ‘whacked’ Nicole Kidman with his program in standing ovation dispute
Sydney Opera House audience member ‘whacked’ Nicole Kidman with his program in standing ovation dispute. Picture: Getty

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

Keith Urban claims “violence at the opera” after his wife, actor Nicole Kidman, found herself the victim of a Sydney Opera House audience member’s bewildering rage.

Actor Nicole Kidman was “whacked” by an angry opera audience member brandishing a program, her husband, singer Keith Urban, has alleged in a radio interview.

Wanting to show their appreciation for Opera Australia’s acclaimed production of Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow, the pair joined their fellow opera lovers at Sydney Opera House in a standing ovation for the night’s star performers.

But one man, sitting behind the couple, grew irritated with their enthusiasm and told them to sit back down, according to Urban. Wanting to show his appreciation for the cast, Urban refused and carried on standing and clapping.

“We were sitting down with Nic’s mum and we were clapping,” Urban said on Australia’s The Kyle & Jackie O Show on KIIS FM radio. “It was a bloody great performance, and everyone was cheering and cheering.

“I looked around and I see a few people standing and a few more and I thought ‘Oh, I’m getting up’. And then this guy behind me just whacked Nic, like really hit her, with the program.”

Kidman then allegedly told Urban that the aggrieved Lehár lover had “just hit me”.

Urban added: “I was like, ‘What?! Violence at the opera!’ It’s a bit of a pickle I was in because I’m a husband and you want to defend your wife, but it took a lot of restraint. I was pretty upset.”

Read more: Tourists who paid £1,400 to watch Andrea Bocelli complain he sang a ‘boring’ opera >

The Hollywood star enjoyed a night at the opera in Sydney
The Hollywood star enjoyed a night at the opera in Sydney. Picture: Instagram/Nicole Kidman

Urban explained that he did not know standing ovations weren’t usual practice at the Opera House, as he had never attended an opera before.

The pair enjoyed their night out with Kidman’s mum, after completing mandatory quarantine, in Sydney, where live performances can now take place again with social distancing and mask-wearing.

After the incident, Urban called over their bodyguards to escort Nicole and her mum out of the venue. The opera house’s security also intervened, and police were soon summoned.

“Police have been told a 53-year-old man and a 67-year-old man were both attending the entertainment centre when an argument broke out. Officers spoke to both men and no further action was taken,” NSW Police had said in a statement.

After the incident was all cleared up, Nicole and Keith stayed behind at the venue so they could greet the star singers backstage.

Opera Australia boss, Lyndon Terracini, led the couple through to the stage door, where they took a photo with Australian-Italian tenor Virgilio Marino.

“Thank you Opera Australia! So beautiful to be back at the theatre,” Kidman posted in a message to her Instagram Stories, adding: “Making my mumma happy at The Merry Widow.”

Never a dull night at the opera...

We want your votes in the world’s biggest survey of classical tastes. Tell us your favourite music in the Classic FM Hall of Fame 2021 for your chance to win fantastic prizes.