David Lister: More tours are the answer – not a Manchester base

So the arts cuts have claimed their first victim. The Royal Opera House's grandiose plan to open a northern outpost in Manchester bites the dust. It goes to show that the cuts, worrying as they are, can also be an opportunity for sound common sense.

A multimillion pound Royal Opera House of the North was an ill-thought out and slightly patronising idea. The Lowry Centre in Salford can take both opera and dance productions, as can Manchester's large venues. And Opera North and Northern Ballet are good companies that perform regularly in the region.

What is needed is some touring by the Royal Opera and Royal Ballet to showcase the world's finest singers and dancers around the country. Their lack of a presence in the UK outside London is scandalous. But the answer was never an expensive new building. It's for the two companies to get out more.

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