London’s landmark Royal Opera House is throwing open its doors to the great unwashed on Sept. 8.
Tickets to opening night of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” will be available exclusively to readers of the Sun tabloid via a lottery.
Prices on all 2,200 first-night tickets have been slashed to as low as $15 (a plum seat on opening night typically runs $400). Winners of the Sun’s drawing will be able to buy up to four tickets each.
Not surprisingly, the promotion has upset opera traditionalists who will be shut out unless they score in the lottery.
“This Sun idea smacks of desperation to me,” wrote Andrew Clements, the Guardian’s classical music critic. “Making the first night exclusively for Sun readers is another ghettoization.” Maybe. But cinema screenings of opera and ballet have been a hit in Europe, with many events selling out despite costing double the price of going to a movie. And the ROH already has a deal with Arts Alliance Media to screen upcoming live and pre-recorded operas at 112 U.K. and European cinemas.