Upbeat: Venture over

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The Independent Culture
THE ROYAL OPERA has decided to disband its studio company, the Garden Venture, citing a lack of resources to make long-term plans. Set up in 1988, the Venture has premiered 21 operas, some full-length, and worked with many creative artists in its annual workshops at the Dartington International Summer School. Its launch season of short operas in 1989 was sponsored by nearly 1,000 Independent readers who contributed pounds 100 a head. Many of them continued to invest in subsequent seasons.

Plans for the coming year included revivals of Therese Raquin, which toured earlier this season. Wilfred Judd, the Venture's founder and artistic director, said yesterday that they would try to pick up on particular projects. 'But I don't think there is any way we can float the whole Garden Venture off somewhere. I feel sorry mainly for the artists we have helped, and I hope people are going to stand up and object.' A letter will be sent to sponsors in a few days' time.

The Royal Opera House is shortly to seek applications for a new position of composer in residence, and will concentrate resources on producing contemporary opera at Covent Garden. 'It's not a case of sacrificing it in order to put Gawain on,' said a spokeswoman. 'The funding doesn't work that way.' New chamber operas may be presented elsewhere, possibly in partnership. ROH directors were yesterday at their annual out-of- house 'think tank' session and unavailable for comment.

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