Letter: Price of opera

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Both Diane Sturch (letter, 10 November) and Roger Guedalla (12 November) are right about seat prices at the Royal Opera House; it depends on one's needs. Most people would like seats with completely unrestricted views, but to guarantee this for all performances of Romeo et Juliette one would have to ask for seats in the pounds 100 price band! Most but not all of the cheaper seats in the amphitheatre centre (pounds 70) and in the amphitheatre rear, Ms Sturch's "back of the gods", (pounds 50) would also give this. Anything cheaper, except some standing places, would not.

The Royal Opera House has made much play about increasing accessibility and lowering seat prices. Some operas and ballets have prices for weekend performances reduced by about one third and the occasional matinee is even cheaper and, yes, seat prices in the best parts of the house are now back to about their 1991/92 levels, though in the amphitheatre most seats are still nearly twice that level.

However, the number of price bands has been reduced from 13 to six, so that what previously were cheaper side seats in a particular area are now at that area's highest price. One hopes that the reason given for these changes - improved sightlines - will be proved correct.

The ROH has promised that the seat pricing will be reviewed once the theatre is operational; we wait with bated breath. However opera is not yet for all at Covent Garden.


London SW1