Classical musician sues the Royal Opera House

A classical musician is suing the Royal Opera House for causing “irreparable damage” to his hearing

A renowned viola player is suing the Royal Opera House for “irreparably” damaging his hearing and therefore ruining his musical career.

Chris Goldscheider claims his hearing was seriously damaged in 2012, when he was part of a Royal Opera House orchestra rehearsing Richard Wagner’s famous Die Walkure piece. According to the BBC, which has seen court documents relating to the case, Mr Goldscheider was “placed immediately behind” brass instruments.

Royal Opera House musician is suing the company for health and safety reasons

The Royal Opera House in London

The documents state that the sound from the booming brass instruments reached 137 decibels and “created an immediate and permanent traumatic threshold shift” within Mr Goldscheider’s hearing.

The musical father-of-two has not been able to perform since the incident; even everyday household sounds, like the clinking of glasses, causes him pain. His solicitor is claiming that the Royal Opera House did not provide enough training on how best to use the hearing protection which it provides to performing musicians.

The Royal Opera House denies responsibility for damaging Mr Goldscheider’s hearing, but the Musicians’ Union claims that many orchestral musicians suffer from hearing problems. According to figures collected by the BBC, there were seven hearing-related absences taken by Royal Opera House musicians in 2014/15.

Morris Stemp of the Musicians’ Union told the BBC: “Conductors are allowed to ride roughshod over health and safety considerations. They put players on the stage where they will be in harm’s way.”

To find out more about our health and safety and employment law services, please click here.