Eva N., from the Slovakian town of Štúrovo, was recently arrested after defying the Supreme Court’s decision to stop playing a four-minute aria from Giuseppe Verdi’s ‘La Traviata’ on loop every day from early in the morning until late at night.
It’s safe to say that Eva N.’s neighbors on Kossuth Street, in Štúrovo, know Verid’s La Traviata by heart. After all they’ve been forced to listen to it for 16 years, ever since the woman started playing it from loudspeakers on her balconies almost non-stop during the day. They’ve been trying to get her to stop for years, appealing to both local police and the justice system, but Eva just defied everyone and kept turning on Placido Domingo’s interpretation of La Traviata every morning at around 6 am, and only turned it off at around 10 at night. Luckily, after over a decade and a half of audio torture, Slovakia’s Supreme Court recently upheld the decision of a lower court that required Eva N. to stop playing her music at loud volume. She ignored the ruling as she did the previous ones, only this time, she got arrested.
Eva N.’s home on Kossuth Street got the nickname “Singing House” in 1999, soon after she moved there. In an interview with a Slovakian radio station, she said that the four minute aria from La Traviata was originally a defence mechanism against the barking of a neighbor’s dog. She claims to have asked the neighbors to do something about the dog as it kept barking and causing her headaches, but they refused, so she had no choice but to fight back. So she got a sound system and started blasting Placido Domingo’s interpretation of Verdi’s aria to cover the dog’s barking.
Here’s the strange thing about her explanation, though. The dog that kept giving Eva N. headaches has been gone for many years, yet she continued playing La Traviata long after that. Last year, Slovakian news site Parameter published an article in which the woman expressed her contempt toward her neighbors. She claimed that she was the true victim, and that she sometimes could get out of the house because of her neighbors. She went on to say that they should all be imprisoned or locked in a mental institution.
For their part, Eva N.’s neighbors have had just about enough of her as well, and some declared themselves shocked that it took so many years for the woman to finally be arrested. A court of law forbade her from harassing people with her music in 2015, and she actually stopped doing it for about two years, but in 2017 she started blasting La Traviata again and people were devastated.
“I love Placido Domingo, but not like this” one neighbor told reporters.
The whole street is suffering,” another resident of Kossuth Street said,
Police arrested Eva N. last Monday, after she repeatedly defied the decision of the Supreme Court. She has been accused of harassment and malicious persecution, and if found guilty, she faces between six months and three years in prison.
This story reminds me of a similar story we covered earlier this year concerning a UK woman who was legally banned from loudly singing in her apartment after neighbors complained that she sounded like a drowning cat.