10 MAY 1935, Page 3

"The Spectator" and Covent Garden The importance of free and

Unbiassed criticism—literary, artistic, musical and theatrical—in the Press of this, or indeed 'any other, 'country is such that any attempt to interfere' with it raises questions which concern a far wider 'public than the readers of the journal immediately affected. The occasion of these remarks is the decision•of the Managing Director of the Royal Opera,' Covent Garden, ' Mr. Geoffrey iToye, to 'withhold the usual ticket for this season's operas from the musical critic of The Spectator, Mr. Dyneley Hussey, giving explicitly as his reason his objection to an article Mr. Hussey wrote on the coming opera season in The Spectator of April 5th. The article -was in fact strictly temperate in tone, and a letter written by Mr. Toye in reply to it was immediately inserted. It is, of bourse, a matter of indifference to us whether our critic, like those of other papers, is offered a seat, or has to pay for it. We shall continue to deal in our Cofurrins with such of the Covent Garden performances as appear to call for notice. But any suggestion' that critics are to be invited to attend musical or theatrical performances on condition of giving —favourable—or refraining from giving unfavonrablenotices is as .com- pletely -inadmissible as the supply by publishers of review copies so long as the books are not. adversely criticized: Criticism on such terms would obviously not be worth printing.