Lady Gaga performance at Italian wedding sparks criticism from locals after public villa closed for a month

The 18th century castle was shut down for a month due to the singer’s performance there

Related: Lady Gaga Unlearn white supremacy

Leer en Español

Lady Gaga’s performance at a wedding in Italy is sparking criticism amongst residents of Lake Como because the groom reportedly paid to close the venue -- a normally open-to-the-public villa and its gardens -- for a full month.

On Sunday, the 36-year-old singer performed at Villa Olmo, an 18th century castle, in honour of 58-year-old Alan Howard’s wedding to 33-year-old Caroline Byron. According to The Telegraph, Howard is a British hedge fund manager with an estimated worth of over $3.2 billion.

According to the publication, Howard reportedly paid Lake Como’s council up to €1.3 million to rent Villa Olma and its surrounding gardens for his wedding.

As the venue was then closed to the public earlier this month, the council said that they were earning a beneficial income from Howard that would be used to pay for local necessities.

However, many Italian locals took issue with the palace’s closure, noting that the building is a popular spot for residents of Como and other tourists. They also emphasised that they’d have been okay with a few days, but a month was too far.

“We would have understood the closure of two or three days to host a cultural event,” one local man told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, translated via Google Translate. “But a public good cannot be seized for a month. Rich gentlemen cannot buy what they want.”

Davide Cantoni, who works at Comozero, a news publication based in Como, also told The Telegraph how most of the town was “against the closure.”

“We’ve had events at Villa Olmo like this in the past, including one for Dolce and Gabbana, but they lasted just a few days. This was totally different - the palazzo was closed to the public on June 6 and it is not due to reopen until July 6, once everything has been dismantled,” he said.

“For us, the villa and the gardens are a little jewel, one of the few green spaces in Como where people go to run, to sunbathe, perhaps to meditate,” he continued.  “Closing to the public for a month, in the middle of the summer season, was really too much.”

Earlier this month, protesters ran a demonstration against the closure and expressed how the move went against the residents of the town who live there and “pay taxes”.

“A tycoon is allowed to enjoy a part of the town’s heritage that is the fruit of centuries of work, while locals are kept out behind fences. The town has been sold off,” protester Luigi Nessi said.

The contentious wedding had 250 guests, including Swedish actress and model Victoria Silvstedt. The celebration also included a floral wedding arch and ended with a fireworks display. Notably, it wasn’t even Howard and Byron’s first wedding. The pair first got married two years ago, but weren’t able to throw a party for the occasion due to the pandemic.

Although the total cost of the wedding isn’t known, the “Bad Romance” singer reportedly asked to be paid $1 million for her performance and had two rooms in the villa designated to her. She apparently slept in one and used another to store her clothes.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in