OFFICIALS at the Welsh National Opera have flagged up no less than eight trigger warnings to audiences at its latest show - including sexist language, slavery, earthquake and volcano.

Ticket-holders to the WNO performance are getting a long warning about "themes some people might find distressing" in the music score written by West Side Story composer Leonard Bernstein.

Bernstein wrote the music in 1956 for Candide based on a novella by Voltaire in 1759 - but opera chiefs fear it may all be too much for some sensitive modern audiences.

On the Welsh National Opera’s website, Candide is promised as a “supercharged wild ride” in which “18th-century France crashes into 20th-century post-war America.”

But then it states: "Please be aware that throughout this operetta there is anachronistic and explicit language used as well as themes that some people may find distressing."

Then it lists "occasional strong language, reference to rape,  depiction of war and violence including murder, misogynist language.

And it goes on to add: "religious prejudices and blasphemy, a scene that shows nooses culminating in two hangings, references to slavery, depiction of an earthquake/volcano erupting."

Fans were puzzled by the warnings for opera known for its dark side and shocking themes going back centuries.

Classical music and arts site Slippedisc said: “We might as well pack up the whole of opera and stay home.”

Fan Michelle Smith - due to see the opera at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff - said: "I've never seen so many trigger warnings. But this is opera not something from Peppa Pig. We are all grown-ups."

Fellow buff Brian David, 59, said: "That's quite a build up with all those warnings. Let's hope it lives up to all that darkness."

The WNO said: "Candide is an operetta that looks at the world through satire and comedy.

"Candide as he leaves the castle from which he is raised and embarks on a journey where he witnesses multiple hardships and experiences disasters.

"These include war, theft, slavery, rape, natural disasters, hanging and more."

The opera company described the story to be “as relevant now as when it was first written in 1759.”

In a reviewed by The Stage it was described as “an ingeniously witty, all-out absurdist Candide from Welsh National Opera.”