Mythbusting: Debunking the idea that trips to the ROH have to cost the earth
In the light of a recent Time Out article, why opera and ballet can be for all.
Ludovic Ondiviela as the Nephew and Elizabeth Harrod as Clara in The Nutcracker © Johan Persson/ROH 2011
Following a recent article in Time Out which mentioned the high price of coming to the Royal Opera House, we thought we’d take a look at the various ways that you can come to Covent Garden and see world class opera, ballet and music without having to break the bank, dispelling a few myths along the way:
True, opera and ballet can be expensive. This is due to the scale of the task of staging such art forms: the Royal Opera House is a large building, it has a resident ballet company, orchestra and chorus; employs a huge team of essential behind the scenes staff from technical to props to costume departments; and brings the finest international artists to perform in Covent Garden. That said, helped by the support of the Arts Council, Friends of Covent Garden and many other sponsors and philanthropists, it doesn’t have to be expensive and it’s easier than ever before to find tickets and events to suit tighter budgets.
At the Royal Opera House 40% of tickets to main stage productions are priced at £40 or less, considerably less than Premier League Football tickets can cost and for that price you get a full orchestra and some of the world’s top opera singers and ballet dancers. Ticket prices needn’t be expensive with opera seats starting at £4 and ballet at £5. In fact this season 175,000 tickets will be priced at £30 or below.
If you want the best seats in the house, prices can be easy on the wallet too; the top tickets for our upcoming triple bill featuring works by top British choreographic talent – Wayne McGregor, Christopher Wheeldon and Liam Scarlett – are priced at just £37.50 with opera-goers able to get the best seats for The Minotaur for £65. We also heavily subsidize tickets for some groups such as students, who have access to £10 Student Standby tickets, and newcomers who are able to attend our family-friendly Welcome Performances and other events.
For those who prefer their opera and ballet with a side order of popcorn, it’s likely that wherever you are in the UK, you’ll have a cinema showing live relays of our productions each month. Our Cinema Season starts on 23 October with a live relay of Swan Lake.
Subscribers to the adage that “the best things in life are free” are catered for too. Our annual trio of BP Summer Big Screen events beam opera and ballet live around the country and we also have regular Monday lunchtime recitals, free concerts by the stars of tomorrow – the Jette Parker Young Artists – and the annual Deloitte Ignite Festival of contemporary work. For those online, last Season we broadcast a whole day of behind the scenes access, talks and rehearsals via YouTube as part of Royal Ballet LIVE. So far, over one million have watched footage from the day.
So you see, seeing world class work at the Royal Opera House needn’t cost the earth; a visit to the ROH can be cheap or expensive, but it is an experience open to everyone.