Just in: Pirates beats Met to steal cinema record for live opera

Just in: Pirates beats Met to steal cinema record for live opera


norman lebrecht

May 21, 2015

Tuesday’s live broadcast from English National Opera of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance has just blown a big hole in the opera streaming business.

Pirates, in Mike Leigh’s production, took £600,000 at the UK box office at a single screening, reaching an audience of over 40,000 people.

The previous UK best was the Metropolitan Opera’s broadcast of Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow, which grossed £504,000 in total, including repeat screenings.

pirates eno

That’s impressive. Wonder if the Arts Council gets the point? Doubt it: their website crashed today, presumably for want of visitors.


  • Halldor says:

    What d’y’ know? Big audience for operetta! Well, well…
    I counted 9 people, meanwhile, at our local showing of the ROH “Mahagonny”.

  • Una says:

    Mahagonny? That’s no surprise. Not everyone’s cup of tea, and the cost of the ticket too – it’s expensive, and more so in the north of England where wages are much lower than London. You can get in to Opera North for £15 and see some of the best opera and some fine productions, and it’s on stage not on a screen. £19 was okay until they put it up to £26 this past year, and London prices. Now there are fewer people going up here and the Met is not getting any more money as a result. Tickets are too costly.