19 JULY 1957, Page 30


SIR,—What other word than 'obliteration' applies when the junior Sadler's Wells Ballet ceases to be administered by the Sadler's Wells Trust and comes under the management of the Royal Opera House?

Not only has its title of 'Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet' been recently changed, but for about two years it has been committed to a policy of almost- permanent touring. Its last Sadler's Wells season before the current one was given thirteen months ago. Any sense of the company 'belonging' to Sad- ler's Wells Theatre has been fading since 1955 and will cease altogether in September. It is then planned that the company shall be 'managed and run from the Royal Opera House,' carrying out the functions that it has fulfilled at various times since 1946: there will be 'closer liaison between the two parts of the Royal Ballet.' Already Covent Garden copes with appalling difficulties concerning space, tinting

schedules and programme planning because of its inadequacy to house comfortably the already resi- dent companies of opera and ballet.

As presumably no other London theatre is to form a new base for the junior company, it must be housed in and maintain its HQ at Covent Garden; the intended 'closer liaison' outlined in Mr. Wood's letter can only be interpreted as a larger Royal Ballet at Covent Garden which will, from time to time, detach variably sized portions of itself to send on tour.

The income v. expenditure question has created this situation and remains of permanent interest; part of this interest lies in the fact that we can sell ballet to America, but not opera. If Covent Garden were to quote the total costs of the dearest and the heapest productions (of both opera and ballet). in each year since 1946 all of us would acquire a fresh perspective on—and possibly a fresh sympathy with—its operations. Such figures would enable me to reckon by how much I may have miscalculated the cost of The Trojans.—Yours faithfully,