Royal Opera House to stage LGBT+ tour

Royal Opera House to stage LGBT+ tour


norman lebrecht

August 19, 2021

Never afraid to come last, the ROH is planning guided tours that ‘celebrate the contribution to its history by LGBT+ figures’, according to The Stage magazine.

Well, the gay bit will be easy to roll out, starting with the founding manager David Webster (who lived above the shop) and any number of famous dancers and choreographers, designers and (mostly closeted) singers. When writing my history of the house, I was lavishly assisted by members of formerly secret gay cliques, all eager to spill beans.

That said, I cannot recall anyone of significance in the post-War era who was openly trans.

Maybe Gabriela Gandolfini, the ROH head of visitor experience, can elighten us?



  • Peter says:

    White people virtue signalling to one another. Because… do they really expect hordes of transpeople to flock to the opera house? I think not.

    • sam says:

      What is so incompatible between opera and transpeople?

      Not that there are “hordes of transpeople” to begin with.

      And whether transpeople “flock” or otherwise “swarm” or “throng” is an open question.

  • George says:


  • Barry says:

    I thought they fired all the tour guides pre pandemic.

  • Allen says:

    Probably to deflect criticism more than anything else. Unfortunately, organisations are using resources which could have been used to, you know, actually create stuff.

    There’s also a danger that it will reinforce prejudices against the instituation amongst people who are already suspicious of opera and ballet. This is a shame because, not only is it a lost audience, but people are being put off something which they could really enjoy. I speak with some authority because, many decades ago, this was my background.

  • Alan says:

    What ****ing drivel.

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    How ridiculous. What’s the point?

  • V. Lind says:

    What are they going to do on this tour? Point out posters and indicate the stars, saying, “He was gay…she was lesbian…though played by both gay and straight singers, this role is of course trans”…

    What exactly is the point?

  • Mb says:

    A Lord Berners retrospective?

  • BRUCEB says:

    “That said, I cannot recall anyone of significance in the post-War era who was openly trans.”

    Well, you just gave credit to “members of formerly secret gay cliques,” who were not openly gay, at least when they worked there, so it hardly seems fair to include the word “openly” as a criterion.

  • Una says:

    Yawn on! Wish they’d just get on with doing the operas so that whoever decides to go can actually afford the tickets to go, and not play to the rich Londoners and foreigners and politicians!