Promoter Gubbay applies to run Royal Opera

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The Independent Culture

Raymond Gubbay, the classical music promoter who has been one of the biggest critics of the Royal Opera House, has applied to run the institution.

Raymond Gubbay, the classical music promoter who has been one of the biggest critics of the Royal Opera House, has applied to run the institution.

The surprise move by the man who has attracted big audiences for opera at low prices to London's Royal Albert Hall and arenas around the country will again put the management of the ROH under the spotlight.

Mr Gubbay has submitted a 12-point plan detailing how he would cut ticket prices and bring in a wider audience. He also says he would run the institution on less than the present £20m grant.

Although there is virtually no chance of the ROH board under its chairman Sir Colin Southgate appointing Mr Gubbay, it will be obliged to interview him. That should be a memorable occasion, as it is understood that one of Mr Gubbay's proposals is that Sir Colin should step down.

The post of executive director at the Royal Opera House is vacant following the decision of Michael Kaiser to return to the United States.

Mr Gubbay said yesterday: "This is a serious application and will draw attention to the shortcomings of the institution. We would continue to run it on public subsidy, but it would not be so much public subsidy. And the top ticket price would be below £100."

Mr Gubbay's plan includes ending the use of outside consultancies and also the different "Friends of Covent Garden" categories, which, he says, "excludes large numbers of the public from purchasing tickets".

He would schedule longer runs of opera productions rather than the present mixed repertory. He added: "We believe that it is possible to... allow a substantial increase in the number of performances."

A Royal Opera House spokesman said: "Mr Gubbay will be considered alongside all other applications."

The appointment of a new executive director is likely to be made by the end of next month.

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