Opera North receives £2 million from Rushi’s culture fund

Opera North receives £2 million from Rushi’s culture fund


norman lebrecht

November 08, 2020

The Leeds-based opera company is the only classical venue to benefit from the latest £18 million shareout of the Culture Recovery Fund.

The company has yet to issue the obligatory statement of gratitude.

Among London grants, Ronnie Scott’s jazz club will get £1.27m and St Paul’s Cathedral £2.1m.


  • Dander says:

    The Tory majority depends largely on Northern working class Labour voters who switched and voted Tory because of Brexshite. They are not interested in classical music/ opera at all.

    If Bojo et al wants to keep their ends up, at the next GE they will have to give money (aka bribe) to these folk instead. Post-Brexshite GB is not turning out as great as promised with Cov-19 so they may well give up on Bojo his lot could not run a whelk stall, nor a proverbial in a brewery. Tory backbenchers are planning his downfall over lockdowns and the other lot are not impressed by his Test, Track n Trace team, already a judicial review is looming on PPE and the Pandemic.

    • Bass One says:

      The northern working class have Russell Watson. What more could they want?

      • Dander says:

        Missed the point mate. Really he is no Enrico Caruso.

        The point is the working class up North do not get opera or classical music at all, they go to football, rugby, the pub or dog racing.

        • Marfisa says:

          Whereas the working class down South flock to opera, ballet and symphony concerts.

          • Andrew Thorne says:

            Not quite, but there is an element of truth in Dander’s comment.

            Roughly half of my life has been spent in the North, and half in the South, and I was more likely, far more likely in fact, to encounter a certain type of aggressive philistinism in the North. At worst this manifested itself as just plain rudeness. I won’t go into historical reasons for this, that’s just the way I found it. And yes, I do know about Opera North (offshoot of ENO), the Huddersfield Choral Society, and brass bands.

            Where Bass One’s comment falls down is that the UK is not Germany, which has 80+ opera houses, so support for opera in the UK generally is nothing to shout about.

          • Maria says:

            And the Halle, and the Leeds Philharmonic and Leeds Festival Choruses. Which part of ‘the north’ are you alluding to. I don’t recognise it.

          • Dander says:

            No they don’t. The grey rinse brigade dominate audiences, wise up.

        • Marfisa says:

          I rather think Bass One got the point, and you missed the irony.

        • Marfisa says:

          Dander, I’m afraid you are right.

          From today’s BBC website: “[Conservative MP] Mr Berry, who made the comment as MPs debated support for the economy in the north of England, said: “First of all is the hit that northern culture has taken from this Covid crisis.

          “For many people who live in London and the south of England, things like the opera house and ballet will be at the heart of their culture.

          “But for many of us in the north it is our local football club – our Glyndebourne or Royal Ballet or Royal Opera House or Royal Shakespeare Company will be Blackburn Rovers, Accrington Stanley, Barrow, Carlisle or Sunderland.”

      • Allen says:

        Perhaps Thomas Allen, John Tomlinson, Janet Baker, Sarah Connolly, to name but four.

        • Maria says:

          Alfreda Hodgson, Isobel Bailey, Jean Allister, Lesley Garratt, Christine Rice, and Valerie Masterson from Birkenhead, and many more. All sang as soloists too for the many choral societies, as I did before going on to greater things – as northerners. So much music in the North.

      • Maria says:

        So bigotted.

  • Firing Back says:

    What the holy crap is St Paul’s Cathedral being funded for?

    • UK Arts Manager says:

      From the BBC news website:

      St Paul’s Cathedral has been given £2.1m as part of the government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund. The latest raft of funding sees more than £14m awarded to 162 heritage organisations such as St Paul’s, Durham Cathedral and Blenheim Palace.

      A further £18m has been given to eight arts venues and organisations, like Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, Opera North in Leeds and The Lowry in Salford. The culture secretary hopes it will help them through the Covid pandemic.

      “These grants will help the places that have shaped our skylines for hundreds of years and that continue to define culture in our towns and cities,” said Oliver Dowden. “From St Paul’s and Ronnie Scott’s to The Lowry and Durham Cathedral, we’re protecting heritage and culture in every corner of the country to save jobs and ensure it can bounce back strongly.”

      The cash injection will help with the construction and maintenance costs of St Paul’s, which is normally a huge tourist attraction.

      Durham Cathedral, also popular with thousands of visitors every year as a filming location for Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films, will receive £1.93m, while Blenheim Palace, the Oxfordshire birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, will receive nearly £1.9m.

  • Allen says:

    “Brexshite” “holy crap”

    Comments definitely going downhill today. I’m an atheist but I have no problem with money going to St Paul’s (or Durham Cathedral, another recipient).

  • Dander says:

    An arts council commissioned survey a few years ago I came across said only about 35% UK population listen to classical at some stage and those that book concerts are mostly one shot bookers. In Germany about 33% listen to classical.

    One benefit of the covid lockdown is many younger folk are exploring new stuff on you tube etc, so this might make future audiences less grey. So instead of downloading little mix they might download some Stradella (only joking).
    In another survey which asked folk to identify composers, some respondents thought Vivaldi was a type of biscuit and Beethoven a type of Belgian beer!

    In UK the North-South divide does impact on cultural choices. The idea of sitting still with clenched buttocks for 80 mins during a Bruckner symphony would be an anathema to most of them. They would prefer to jig and wave their arms about in the aisles like those dreadful Pentecostalists.