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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Ignore the naysayers, opera is for everyone

Many have dismissed opera as unaffordable and elitist – they are missing out, writes Jack Pepper

Opera is more affordable today than ever. The Royal Opera House, for example, is one of several venues to underline its commitment to the new generation of classical listeners. Signing up as a student costs you nothing, but gives you access to over 10,000 dedicated student tickets with prices ranging from £1 to £25. There is simply no truth to the idea opera is inaccessible. A cinema ticket, a football match, or even a haircut will set you back further than a trip to experience one of the world’s premier cultural centres.

Moreover, opera is as relevant today as it has ever been. With increasing political engagement amongst today’s youth, the ideological and philosophical questions posed by opera make it a fascinating response to its times, offering perspectives that make it pertinent as well as entertaining. For proof, look no further than John Adams’ exploration of power and politics in Nixon in China

Mark Anthony-Turnage’s examination of racism, unemployment and AIDS in Greek. The stereotype of sweeping staircases and glass chandeliers implies a world distant to the one we inhabit, but this is far from true. Opera is as engaging and engaged as ever. It is more youthful than you would expect too. The Royal Opera House’s Jette Parker Young Artists Programme provides paid work for fourteen talented young musicians. The Youth Opera Company also commissions and films its own operas, and has over fifty participants. Then there is the Young Creatives annual project, providing mentoring to six choreographers aged 16 to 25. Young people already make up a huge part of the House’s vibrant community.

Opera has too long been a victim of inverted snobbery. With engaging storylines, thrilling music and spectacular staging, the world of opera is a world for everyone.

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