Letter: Fright at the opera

Sir: While the business community would have us believe there is nothing one of their own couldn't run better than the incumbents, Sir Colin Southgate's remarks about opera goers in shorts show the need for tact in a senior public arts role ("New Royal Opera chief aims to keep out the riffraff", 16 January).

Opera audiences are already full of businessmen who care more about their fellow punters than the music, and now it seems opera management is going the same way. People who can afford pounds 25 to watch Arsenal FC may be able to afford opera tickets, and may even smell and wear singlets, shorts and trainers. Most music lovers can't and don't.

The staggering public subsidies provided for opera in the capital should go towards providing a service for the public, not just yawning, coughing expense-account business parties. Fresh audiences could be just what London's opera needs to dig itself out of its dreadful hole.

TOM PEER.

London SW11

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