Recently in a Paris opera, a woman wearing a Niqab, the traditional dress of a Muslim woman, was demanded to leave after the cast refused to play until she was removed. She was forced to exit the building because anything covering the face in France is against the law.
The show being put on at the time was La Traviata, at Opera Bastille, in which the woman in question, along with fellow traveller Susan McGalla, were visiting the opera as tourists.
She was visiting from an Arab country, and had booked the most expensive seats in the house. The pair sat themselves just behind the conductor directing the band; for sucha prime location, the seats apparently cost 231 euros each.
The Niqab, a traditional dress of the Arab world, covers the hair and the face, only leaving a portion of the eyes and the forehead exposed.
The woman was not detected by opera staff; however, one of the performers did notice her, and reported it. Thiellay, the opera director, said that he was notified by one of the singers, in the midst of the performance.
This signer, among several performers, refused to continue if the issue was not resolved. For this very reason, an official confronted her in the show interim, and gave the. the choice to either take off the veil or to leave the opera house.
Thiellay said, “The man asked the women to get up, and they left.” He said that, while it was certainly embarrassing and untoward, it was his duty and hers to respect the laws of the land, in order to protect peace and maintain order.