23 SEPTEMBER 1960, Page 19


Thank you for drawing attention to the un- c of Covent Garden's subscription scheme, of ,1 1 seems to proceed from a completely false idea thetnaora ve habigets and resources (in time and money) of

The regular opera-goer,

demand for opera in London is inelastic and a 10 e

P r cent. reduction in the price of ten tickets

not increase attendances at all. It will not, therefore !fore, increase total revenue. And the scheme is asu_involved (and the price iniquitous) to be regarded

"'al' of simply putting up the price for priority muting. I have suggested to the General Administrator the institution of a 'supporters' club' (if the term is not too 'non-U') on the lines of those of Glyndebourne, the Old Vic and Sadler's Wells, who offer priority booking to their members. This would give a straightforward and doubtless substantial subsidy to the funds of the Opera House, to which regular opera-goers would be glad to contribute; provide a fair and straightforward way of arranging priority bookings; and incidentally provide a channel for communication between the opera-goer and the administrators of the Opera House, which obviously is woefully lacking if it is conscientiously thought that the present scheme is what opera-goers want.

To this suggestion I have had, so far, only the reply that it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to introduce this kind of arrangement without caus- ing many grievances, and that membership would have to be restricted to such an extent that the project would be hardly worth while. In view of the success of the schemes of the other organisations, I am puzzled to know how this conclusion has been