Katy Wright

Deputy Editor, Classical Music

ROH to reintroduce Proms concerts

10:15, 6th September 2017

The Royal Opera House is to offer £10 tickets for those prepared to sit on the floor.

New artistic director Oliver Mears is reviving Proms concerts at Covent Garden following a break of 30 years. Stalls seats will be removed for the opera house’s most popular productions, creating space for audience members to stand or sit.

Tickets will become available on the day of the performance, and will cost considerably less than the regular stall seats.

The concerts were first introduced by Sir Colin Davis in the 1970s, with audience members paying £3, and continued for around two decades.

Mears told the Telegraph: ‘[The concerts] were a little bit before my time but I’ve heard about them by report and the extraordinary impact they had on people who experienced them, not just people in the audience but in the house as well.

‘There are misconceptions about opera – that it is very formal, very stiff. Of course people like to dress up and that could be part of the event of going to the opera. But no one should feel intimidated by that.’

The Telegraph reported that the concerts are expected to begin in 2020, and will take place over one week in every season, with performances of opera and ballet.

Although prices have yet to be set and a sponsor is being sought, Mears said the prices are expected to be ‘something around the £10 mark’.

He added: ‘As you can imagine, it’s quite a complex logistical challenge. We would have to remove all the seats in the stall, which we’ve established would take about 12 hours.

‘This is not a cheap endeavour because we would of course be removing some of the most expensive seats in the house. But the importance of this project, in terms of becoming the kind of place we want to be – stressing the approachability of the Royal Opera House – trumps that concern.’

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