Covent Garden cancels 3 shows due to rail strikes

Covent Garden cancels 3 shows due to rail strikes


norman lebrecht

June 20, 2022

Message from the ROH:

It is with great regret that the Royal Opera House must cancel the performance of Madama Butterfly on Tuesday 21 June, the Friends’ Rehearsal of Così fan tutte on Wednesday 22 June and the performance of Così fan tutte on Saturday 25 June due to the knock-on effects of the tube and national rail strikes.

It is very rare for the Royal Opera House to cancel performances, and we have done everything in our power to try to avoid this outcome. However, due to the sheer numbers of staff and artists unable to travel to and from the building, including essential technical and stage crews, we have been forced to make changes to the schedule which means technical rehearsals essential for the safe running of performances can now not take place.


  • Una says:

    Nobody mentions those kinds of things on BBC/Sky News.

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    Unfortunate but very sensible good for the ROH.

  • Brian says:

    So much for “the show must go on.”

    • Sue Barclay says:

      That is more than a bit silly. If backstage staff and artists can’t get there, how CAN the show go on? It is not as if they can use their cars like the good old days. Or horse and carriage. Get real. We cant all use cabs (just try find one this week!) and we dont all have limos, much as you might find it hard to believe

  • Elsie says:

    Will the ROH refund to the Arts Council the relevant proportion of their grant? Cancelling performances; whatever happened to that old adage, “the show must go on”?

    • Helen says:

      “Will the ROH refund to the Arts Council the relevant proportion of their grant?”

      No, but perhaps the RMT Union should.

    • Sue Barclay says:

      See my comment to Brian above. The audience might largely live in Zone 1 and be able to walk there but not the rest of us!

  • Furioso says:

    Belmont Ensemble have also had to cancel at St Martin-in-the-Fields on 21 June – There is no way with both a tube and train strike combined that musicians, house staff and audience can get in to London. The RMT are incredibly selfish and clearly have not regard for people working in the arts who are only just getting back on their feet after the pandemic

    • Emil says:

      The idea that some workers should get screwed over so others can thrive/survive is incredibly regressive and damaging. The Arts suffered immensely during COVID. Rail workers have had to work in dangerous conditions all throughout Covid too (remember those enhanced cleaning crews on trains? Yeah, they’re on strike). The government controls funding for both, and it is harming both the arts and the transportation workers.
      Don’t blame the workers, blame the ones who are harming them.

      • Helen says:

        Railway workers were protected during Covid through the continuation of massive subsidies. Workers in unsubsidised sectors kept people fed through doorstep deliveries and were arguably at greater risk from Covid.

        The lowest paid, who are not able to work from home, are being disproportionately affected by this strike.

        Railways can be converted to automatic operation relatively easily and some already have been. This strike action might backfire in the long run.

        • Emil says:

          Railway operations were protected because they are essential work (and this should also apply to other sectors!). Railway workers were also required to expose themselves to a deadly virus because their work was deemed essential. Both things are true.
          And inflation will hit railway workers just as hard as everyone else. If they are indeed essential, pay them so.

          • Skeptic says:

            ‘Railway workers were also required to expose themselves to a deadly virus ‘

            No, they weren’t.

          • Emil says:

            Those ‘Covid enhanced cleaning crews’ existed for a reason and they were not staffed by robots.

        • SVM says:

          If employees are not allowed to withdraw their labour, then we have slavery. The UK abolished slavery in 1807. Regardless of the rights or wrongs of any particular strike, the right to go on strike (and lose a day’s pay in the process) must always be respected. It is the management’s responsibility to ensure that the company can provide a service, not the unions nor the individual employees (except possibly if they are freelance, in which case they are no longer employees). The onus is on the management either to find a workforce willing to work on their terms or to adapt their terms to the available workforce.

          • Helen says:

            “If employees are not allowed to withdraw their labour, then we have slavery.”

            In that case, the police service, the armed services and, I believe, the prison system, are guilty of slavery.

            They aren’t, of course, because nobody is forced to join in the first place.

      • Furioso says:

        Belmont Ensemble has never, in over 30 years received a penny of funding from any public source and relies purely on box office receipts, so your argument is redundant (sadly, like Belmont Ensemble’s musicians today)

  • J. Darton says:

    Breaking news!!!
    The musicians of Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden have voted yesterday unanimously their new chief conductor.
    In a few hours the official announcement.

  • Tancredi says:

    Some very silly comments below; ‘the show must go on’, but apart from artistic considerations today’s safety standards cannot be met if staff can’t get there.

  • Ellie says:

    Seems extraordinary to me that the cost of taxi-ing all the staff for these performances is more than the cost of lost revenue from cancelling (which will still include paying all core staff etc even though they’re not working)? They’ve had a few weeks to put the plan in place…
    I guess they also factored all the audience is asking for credit as well, otherwise I imagine they’d carry on?