We have important news for you from Covent Garden. It is not good news.
For your further information, we have now received a reply from the Royal Opera House.
Please click HERE to go to the continuing correspondence.
For several years we have been taking you to the Royal Opera House to see the occasional opera but mainly a wide selection of ballet performances. This has been possible because of the very generous discounts of up to 45% offered to group bookers. We have been offered seats both in the Amphitheatre and Orchestra Stalls, and the discounts on these seats have made Covent Garden accessible for many of us who could otherwise not have afforded to go. This is about to change.
The Royal Opera House has made an announcement that discounts for groups are being curtailed -
"Given increasing pressures on our income as a result of tough economic conditions, reduced funding and rising expenditure, we must make sure that we manage our costs effectively. We have reviewed all the packages and ticket prices across the organisation to ensure that we are as efficient as possible whilst remaining fair to our customers. As a result, we will be reducing the group rates to a level that we believe reflects the quality on our stage and which is more in line with the wider sector. We have loved having your customers here at the Royal Opera House and hope this won't deter you from returning again."
This has a strong hint of Goodbye about it - "Oh! we don't want to lose you but we think you ought to go!"
The Summer Season offers opera discounts of only 10%. Ballet performances are very limited and there is no discount, so we must wait until the next season to see if any discounts are offered for future ballet performances, and if so what the percentage may be.
It occurs to me that previous discounts must have been offered for the following reasons -
1. To encourage bookers who may otherwise not have afforded the tickets;
2. To build a new audience and reward regular attendees;
3. To fill seats which may otherwise have remained unsold at the full prices; and
4. To dissuade us from accusing the ROH of being elitist.
It further occurs to me that none of the above reasons have changed; all remain valid.
We have written to our contact in the Groups Department at Covent Garden to give them our response to their news. Here are some points from our letter -
"As you know, our group of regular theatregoers has taken advantage of the group offers over many years.
/continued on the Ticket Price Watch