The Royal Opera House is facing shutdown, singer Dame Sarah Connolly says, as the Government was urged to act to save the British music industry. “They are ringing alarm bells. They are desperately trying to get sponsors to shore them up,” Connolly told The Londoner this week.
She added: “Beyond the autumn they don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s an internationally renowned opera house but it’s potentially facing closure.”
The ROH said: “The ROH and, indeed, the entire theatre industry are facing severe financial challenges. We must draw on our collective ingenuity and determination to survive and adapt.”
Ministers were urged this week to save musicians. Concerts and gigs face a serious struggle to reopen before 2021, and state support slows down from next month. Stars have signed an open letter warning of “mass insolvencies”.
Shadow culture secretary Jo Stevens told the Londoner: “The fact that even the iconic Royal Opera House is struggling really highlights the problem facing the industry as a whole.
"It’s not just an impressive building in Covent Garden, the ROH employs over 1,000 people and creates work for many freelancers as well.
Connolly added: "It's a global phenomenon the British music industry. We [classical music] contribute over £5bn to the industry, and the creative industry as a whole creates over £100bn.
"Three million of us in the performing arts are just at a standstill. For futures to be sustainable literally we need some financial help. Other countries are doing it, but the Government isn't listening.
"There's no future for live performing arts. There's no answer, because the Government isn't answering."
Nickie Aiken, Tory MP for Cities of London and Westminster, where the ROH is, said: "If we lost the Royal Opera House, we lose a world renowned cultural institution, with a likely knock on effect for local restaurants, bars, cafes and hotels. We must act fast to save our theatres and venues."
Early last month, Alex Beard, chief executive of the Royal Opera House, said its reserves were enough to see it through to “late Autumn but certainly not into the New Year.”
The Royal Opera House has existed in some form since the 1660s, surely this isn’t the end?
As the future of music magazine Q hangs in the balance, editor Ted Kessler strikes a poignant note at the end of what may be his valedictory message to readers in the magazine’s August issue: “Remember the good times we’ve shared. After all, as our patron saint Liam Gallagher once remarked when asked what Q means to him, ‘Q? It’s just a letter.’”
PAMELA ANDERSON tells it like it is. Writing to Justin Trudeau, the activist and supporter of Julian Assange tells him: “I would be honoured to be your mentor” if the Canadian PM goes vegan. She also praises his investment in plant-based industries and explains “sensuality includes being engaged in the world... and nothing is sexier than compassion.” Nothing.
Dan Gardner, co-author with Philip Tetlock of Superforecasting, the book Dominic Cummings loves, tell us he “would very much like to buy Mr Cummings a pint”. Superforecasting has sold out on Amazon after the No 10 adviser said it was required reading for government special advisers. Gardner adds he’s never experienced a sales bump “so vertiginous. Or unexpected. He’s our Oprah!”
Tory MP Caroline Nokes says too many men in Government has led to lockdown easing more slowly for women, and pledged to stop shaving her legs to get government attention. Nokes was unimpressed by the PM’s joke about going to a salon yesterday. The beauty industry is “angry and offended”, she told us. “Sadly my hideously hairy legs have had no impact.”
Smile behind your masks, 2020 is halfway through
Dua Lipa and her boyfriend Anwar Hadid shared some snaps of them making hay in May as they partied at home during lockdown. Now that restrictions are easing the PM’s father Stanley Johnson made a cheeky dash to Athens, producers Mark Ronson and Trakgirl hit up a studio, while Victoria actor Nell Hudson captioned her pose “we are halfway through the year”. Hard to disagree.