Royal Ballet promoter can charge what he likes

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The Independent Online
THE EXECUTIVE director of the Royal Opera House, Michael Kaiser, admitted yesterday that a commercial promoter staging a Royal Ballet season at the ROH would be able to charge whatever prices he liked.

The Independent reported yesterday that the commercial promoter, Victor Hochhauser, had been engaged by the ROH to mount a summer season of the Royal Ballet next year. It is unprecedented for a commercial promoter to present the Royal Ballet in its own home, funded largely by national lottery money. Profits will go to the promoter rather than back into the coffers of the publicly funded institution.

Asked yesterday if the season would be subject to the ROH's new policy of reducing prices, Mr Kaiser said that the promoter would have the final say on prices and would not have to abide by the ROH or government policy on this.

It was not yet known what the ticket price range would be. "The seat prices are set by the promoter," Mr Kaiser told The Independent. "They could be higher. We will have an influence on prices, but the final say will be the promoter's."

Geoffrey O'Connell, political consultant with the Lottery Promotion Company, which monitors lottery spending, had called the decision "outrageous", saying: "The lottery was not set up to fund venture capitalism. It was meant to go to good causes."

t The new artistic director of the Royal Opera House, Antonio Pappano, said yesterday he would be working alongside Michael Kaiser when he arrives in 2002. Although his appointment was announced as music director, Mr Pappano confirmed that he will be in charge of artistic policy, even though from 2002 to 2004 other commitments mean that he will be at the ROH only seven months of the year.