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ASUmusicMAN

Will ROH £10 scheme hit target audience?

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Will ROH £10 scheme hit target audience? April 14 2004

The Royal Opera House has struck a £1m sponsorship deal with foreign exchange company Travelex to offer 100 top price seats for £10 on Mondays.

The discounted seats, in the stalls and stall circle (in some cases a saving of £165), will go on sale 90 minutes before the performance. Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell welcomed the three-year deal, which starts this autumn and runs for half the season, as giving ?even more people the chance to experience world-class opera and dance.?

Not everyone is convinced. Centre-left thinktank, the Institute of Public Policy Research, said this month that such schemes ?are more likely to encourage the middle-class to go more often, rather than bringing in a wider audience?. An IPPR book, to be published in early May, will claim that despite similar initiatives in various art forms there has been little movement in recent years in the social class of arts attendees. ?It would be far better?to give away tickets to community groups in deprived areas and to arrange trips for lower socio-economic groups outside of London,? said IPPR.

Continues... http://www.gramophone.co.uk/newsMainTempla...newssectionID=1

Edited by ASUmusicMAN

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Barber of Seville cuts through class divide

Stephen Moss

Thursday April 8, 2004

The Guardian

The woman in the foyer with an iPod was a good sign. When did you last see someone at the Royal Opera House plugged into an iPod? Ditto the young usher with dreadlocks. Maybe the Savoy Opera, which opened for business in London's West End last night, was going to live up to co-founder Raymond Gubbay's claims and find a new audience.

There were, though, plenty of opera's old audience there too. It certainly can't match Covent Garden for display: the man and woman in dinner jacket and silk shawl looked ludicrously out of place, only one man in leather trousers was spotted, and there were no dainty salmon sandwiches - only tins of Pringles. But there were the usual pinstripe suits, cut-glass accents and conversations about houses in the country. And half a bottle of champagne costs £19. The revolution will be a sober one.

More HERE

http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/news/story/...1188199,00.html

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New Opera Co. Opens in London

By Tim Ashley

The Guardian

April 16, 2004

LONDON -- Raymond Gubbay's Savoy Opera opened this week in London's West End. The so-called "people's opera" offers opera in English at relatively low ticket prices; purists fear will London cannot sustain three opera houses.

Perhaps they need not worry. Of the opening production of "The Barber of Seville," Guardian reviewer Tim Ashley writes that director Aletta Collins "has messily gone to extremes...and relocated the opera in a late 20th century police state, where Almaviva, the affluent, love-sick country boy, is beaten up by drunken soldiers in the city streets, and where jack-booted officers batter down doors at every opportunity."

Singing is quite fine, reports Ashley, but the Royal Philharmonic "was occasionally slipshod and ragged in ensemble."

More of the story, with more links HERE

http://www.musicalamerica.com/news/newssto...yID=1&cookies=1

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Bring in the people

Bring in the people

Leader

Friday April 16, 2004

The Guardian

Opera's gene pool is too small. It is overbred and introspective, an art form dominated by purists where to consider audience appeal is vulgar and the genius of, say, Mozart can be dismissed for overfamiliarity. Too many involved in producing, managing and writing about it live in a tiny world enclosed by the red velvet curtains of the world's great opera houses, talking only to a handful of the same elite, while all around them popular support dwindles to a clique of the dedicated and the snobbish, and opera's very existence is jeopardised by the cost of overpriced tickets for overweight singers in oversubsidised productions.

So perhaps it is not surprising that the latest venture from Raymond Gubbay, the man who brought opera to the Albert Hall, has attracted the sneers of the experts. Savoy opera, intended to offer (relatively) cheap, accessible productions of the classics in the West End, has been accused of undermining London's other opera companies by skimming off the easy stuff and offering less than perfect performances, with cheap labour in the form of young, largely unknown singers. It is the antithesis of what the purists, regardless of the viability of the product, appear to believe opera ought to be.

Of course opera, like all the arts, needs its (subsidised) temples of excellence. But the danger is that their prices are too high and the atmosphere, at least in the Royal Opera House, too chilly to attract those who are not quite sure whether they will like what they are going to hear. And opera will not survive without a robust network of lesser performance spaces to offer a user-friendly introduction to those who fancy trying the implausible plots and wobbly acting of the opera stage on the strength of hearing the three tenors on Classic FM. Savoy opera may not reach the giddy heights of Covent Garden, but its Barber of Seville and Marriage of Figaro have youth, freshness, humour and inventiveness, just the ingredients for the kind of entertaining, informal night out likely to encourage audiences to come back again and again. As Almaviva advises Dr Bartolo, just accept it, purists.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/features/st...1193208,00.html

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