Is this the best Covent Garden can show to students?

Is this the best Covent Garden can show to students?


norman lebrecht

May 24, 2014

Covent Garden has announced, via a BBC education reporter, that its opening night next season will be reserved for students only, at prices ranging from £1 to £25.

Genuine outreach or eye-catching stunt?

Opinion is divided. Obviously, the more students you can get across an opera threshold, the more likely some of them are to return. But the opera selected for students is Mark Anthony Turnage’s celebrity-sleaze show, Anna Nicole, an extravaganza of hyper-sexualised media excess.

Did the ROH fear that there might not be enough students to fill the house for Mozart, Verdi or Britten?

anna nicole


  • Well, aren’t they simply doing what La Scala has been doing in the last few years? And if that’s the opera Covent Garden chose for its season’s opening, I don’t see where the controversy is.

  • Bill says:

    Simple answer to a simple question.
    Yes it is the best they can do.
    For anything more intelligent and/or adult look elsewhere in just about any country

    • Mike Schachter says:

      Not quite far, their range is quite wide and often very good. An occasional “shocking” piece is fair enough, one doesn’t have to go to it (I won’t).

  • banon says:

    I’m not really sure what the problem is here. Mozart’s, Verdi’s and Britten’s plots are often quite sexual themselves. Many of them are very violent as well. Plus – despite the fact that I love them – they’re all quite old. There is something to say for newer material.

    Anna Nicole is a good piece, and it has some touching moments. Plus: the “students” appear to be mostly university-age, so no 10 year olds will be asking for pole dancing gear or implants for Christmas.

  • Nick says:

    I am all for new ways to involve young people in the experience of going to see opera. However, rather than pack one performance with students, why not consider what one commercial producer has done with some of his productions: give two rows near the front of the stalls over to students at student prices for as many performances of as many different operas as possible? The energy this releases is infectious for both performers and audience. It is also fantastic PR!