Crowd-pleasers such as this season’s La traviata to become standard programming alongside lesser-known works
The Royal Opera House plans to programme longer runs of popular classics in its forthcoming seasons according to Kasper Holten. In a letter thanking patrons for their support throughout the last season, the director of opera, who has just completed his first year in the role, likened the demand for well-known operatic crowd-pleasers to the importance of stocking Penguin Classics in a bookshop – alongside lesser-known works, of course.
Holten welcomed this last season’s long run of La traviata as a success, as 30 per cent of its audience were new to the Opera House:
‘The next seasons will also offer longer runs of popular classics,’ he said. ‘Some people disagree with this, I know. But as long as they go together with a mix of other programming of new or lesser-known work, I think that this is exactly as it should be; when you go into a bookshop, you also expect it to have the Penguin Classics on the shelves.’
Despite having to contend with ‘significant cuts to our public funding’, Holten expressed a desire to make constant ‘improvements for the future’, working with music director Antonio Pappano and director of casting Peter Katona.
‘I am sure that you, more than anybody, would agree with me that it is important to introduce more people to the incredible experience of opera and to fight to keep the art form accessible,’ he said. ‘However, it is important for us when thinking about building new audiences to remember that our dedicated, critical and knowledgeable core audience…[are] the foundation on which we build.’