How to fund an opera outside the opera house

How to fund an opera outside the opera house


norman lebrecht

September 08, 2017

John Berry’s Opera Ventures brings together individuals of high net worth to pay for opera productions that are staged outside established venues.

OV’s first hit was Greek at this year’s Edinburgh Festival.

John says: ‘When I was at ENO, we had £15m in fixed costs. Our charity runs on less than £100,000 a year, yet it’s capable of producing projects that cost £800,000-£1m, which in this environment is becoming impossible for many organisations.’

John’s logic is impeccable and it looks like he has a good starting list of donors.

But the really, truly, horribly rich will always put their money into bricks-and-mortar opera houses where they can invite their friends and play at being Onassis. The big beasts need not fear.



  • Scottish Musician says:

    How is Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre during the Edinburgh International Festival counted as being ‘outside established venues’?

  • Una says:

    It is not an opera house, or there isn’t one I Edinburgh. Scottish Opera is their one company in Scotland, based in Glasgow, and broke.

  • Scottish Musician says:

    It is an established venue for opera – it’s Scottish Opera’s regular Edinburgh venue, and it hosts Opera North regularly as well as all of the EIF’s staged operas. SO has over £8m in public funding each year plus other fundraising which take it over £10m, so hardly broke.
    My point is that a national opera company putting on a production in their regular venue during one of the world’s biggest arts festivals (who originally commissioned the opera in question) is hardly breaking the mould and putting on opera outside of established venues.