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Geoff

The "new" Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

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Incidentally I was just looking to see how the Proms idea initially came up in the 70s and according to John Tooley, whose idea they were, the original plan was to relay opera and ballet performances to various centres round the country (more than 40 years ago) and Tooley had persuaded the Midland Bank to pay for it - but in the end it proved too expensive (line costs and special projectors) so they abandoned that idea and subsidised the Proms instead. (Leading to Richanrd Buckle's review starting "I'd like to kiss the Midland Bank" - or something like that anyway) Also, in the 1900s Tooley almost fixed  a deal with Texaco and the BBC to relay live television performances but it fell through when an oil crisis meant Texaco had to withdraw.

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24 minutes ago, Richmondhill said:

Re: The House. It was indeed broadcast on BBC2 under that title; the programmes loaded on You Tube are taken from a video release (American I think) which retitled the series to The Royal Opera House, presumably for the sake of clarity. Either way it's the same own goal I remember watching back in 1996! 

 

I'd always remembered it as The House and thought I'd misremembered the title, so thank you for the explanation!

 

I found it again on YouTube a year or so ago and watched it in one sitting, it was so fascinating. (Particularly shocking to me was the dismissive way the singer Denyce Graves was treated by one of the RO managers.)

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1 hour ago, Jane S said:

Incidentally I was just looking to see how the Proms idea initially came up in the 70s and according to John Tooley, whose idea they were, the original plan was to relay opera and ballet performances to various centres round the country (more than 40 years ago) and Tooley had persuaded the Midland Bank to pay for it - but in the end it proved too expensive (line costs and special projectors) so they abandoned that idea and subsidised the Proms instead. (Leading to Richanrd Buckle's review starting "I'd like to kiss the Midland Bank" - or something like that anyway) Also, in the 1900s Tooley almost fixed  a deal with Texaco and the BBC to relay live television performances but it fell through when an oil crisis meant Texaco had to withdraw.

 

We then had BP sponsoring the live big screen relays.

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2 hours ago, Timmie said:

Last night I had to ask for a cast change slip, Usher: “yes, I think we have a few”, as she reaches into a drawer. What is the point of the hundreds of cast lists given out if they are knowingly inaccurate? That is a bigger waste of paper. I think this change slip stupidity is the single thing that annoys me most about the recent ROH mischievousness!

I was in the Balcony and there weren't any.  I drew the usher's attention and she looked at me as much as to say 'there's no pleasing some people.'

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I am due to attend Unknown Soldier on Thursday. Everyday, for more than a week, I have received an email from the House  entitled "Important reminder: your visit" promoting  restaurant facilities. Just the same message day after day. The practice used to be a single reminder "just incase one had forgotten"  so I wonder whether, since the Open Up these facilities have lost their appeal?  It is starting to get annoying and will end up being deleted without being read. And one might actually be important.

Is this a flaw in the email marketing software or now deliberate promotion I wonder?

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I get the same - as I guess does everyone else.  I only open them to see which performance it relates to, in case I've somehow forgotten one.  (And I have a feeling I got duplicates for one or more performances)

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1 hour ago, graemew said:

I am due to attend Unknown Soldier on Thursday. Everyday, for more than a week, I have received an email from the House  entitled "Important reminder: your visit" promoting  restaurant facilities. Just the same message day after day. The practice used to be a single reminder "just incase one had forgotten"  so I wonder whether, since the Open Up these facilities have lost their appeal?  It is starting to get annoying and will end up being deleted without being read. And one might actually be important.

Is this a flaw in the email marketing software or now deliberate promotion I wonder?

I've also received an invitation to partake of a ridiculously expensive and not very interesting dinner, but haven't received the reminder they used to send out with details of timings etc. I suspect their dining facilities are proving of little interest.

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2 hours ago, graemew said:

I am due to attend Unknown Soldier on Thursday. Everyday, for more than a week, I have received an email from the House  entitled "Important reminder: your visit" promoting  restaurant facilities. Just the same message day after day. The practice used to be a single reminder "just incase one had forgotten"  so I wonder whether, since the Open Up these facilities have lost their appeal?  It is starting to get annoying and will end up being deleted without being read. And one might actually be important.

Is this a flaw in the email marketing software or now deliberate promotion I wonder?

 

 I've booked for a few of these Triple Bills and am receiving more than one e-mail reminder every day. Perhaps they are trying to prove their 'green' credentials?

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Apologies - me again! 

At yesterday's rehearsal, the cast sheets were of reduced size with very feint, almost unreadable print. People were hoping that the change was only for a rehearsal.

 

But no. I hear that the same size/style was being used at the opera last night. So bring your magnifying glasses tonight!

 

What the hell is the ROH thinking - on so many fronts all at once too?

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2 hours ago, graemew said:

I am due to attend Unknown Soldier on Thursday. Everyday, for more than a week, I have received an email from the House  entitled "Important reminder: your visit" promoting  restaurant facilities. Just the same message day after day. The practice used to be a single reminder "just incase one had forgotten"  so I wonder whether, since the Open Up these facilities have lost their appeal?  It is starting to get annoying and will end up being deleted without being read. And one might actually be important.

Is this a flaw in the email marketing software or now deliberate promotion I wonder?

 

Me too. Imagine it’s an issue with the software

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I'd guess that whoever configured/installed it didn't think of people going to multiple shows. Or it's just broken. Either way, complain or they'll never notice.

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3 hours ago, ninamargaret said:

I've also received an invitation to partake of a ridiculously expensive and not very interesting dinner, but haven't received the reminder they used to send out with details of timings etc. I suspect their dining facilities are proving of little interest.

 

The dinners have always been ridiculously expensive and not particularly interesting.  However, I have to say that sitting in the balcony restaurant is a marvellous experience, especially when they had the Christmas tree up, and one that I thoroughly enjoyed on the one occasion I did it.  That was many years ago, of course, when seats in my preferred area were half the price they are now.  

 

Someone has just asked me, can they go and get a drink and sit outside on the new upstairs terrace, if they don't have a ticket for the performance?  I assume they can?

 

 

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Should be able to, I believe.  Unless things have changed in the last couple of weeks.

 

(I've just checked my email and, surprise surprise, have 2 email reminders about tonight's performance, and booking to eat in the restaurant.)

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1 hour ago, Fonty said:

 

The dinners have always been ridiculously expensive and not particularly interesting.  However, I have to say that sitting in the balcony restaurant is a marvellous experience, especially when they had the Christmas tree up, and one that I thoroughly enjoyed on the one occasion I did it.  That was many years ago, of course, when seats in my preferred area were half the price they are now.  

 

Someone has just asked me, can they go and get a drink and sit outside on the new upstairs terrace, if they don't have a ticket for the performance?  I assume they can?

 

 

Tell them to bring their own if they want brownie points with Mr. Taylor!

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Now there's an idea!  I shall suggest they buy a bottle of champagne and take it in with them. 

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There’s usually a few rows of empty glasses standing on the unused bar on the terrace, so I’m sure ROH won’t mind if they borrow a couple.  Tell them not to bother about clearing their empties;  there’s sure to be some ticket holders happy to clear away.

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About the new cast sheets (which I think have been mentioned in this thread and another): I emailed Customer Services at the ROH about this and have received a reply to say that they have redesigned them to save paper and money and to fit in with their new brand. But they have received a small number of complaints relating to their legibility, and they are aware that in the context of the low lighting in the auditorium some audience members may find them less comfortable to read. They are therefore reviewing the new design and considering what course of action is appropriate.

 

They also said that reducing the synopses is part of the redesign. I replied to the effect that this only needs to be done if it does save paper, which is rarely going to be the case; otherwise they are not saving paper, they are just short-changing their audience (and especially now that programmes are prohibitively expensive, cast sheets do need to be as helpful as possible).

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Many thanks bridiem.  If cast sheets are no longer to give a synopsis (Mayerling had a pretty thin synopsis and there was nothing in the Triple Bill cast list), where are synopses to be found other than in the programme?  The website is very hit and miss (sometimes a brief synopsis, sometimes nothing) but certainly not comparable to what used to be included in the old cast sheets.

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The phrase ‘the new brand’ is interesting.  When did Open-Up become a new brand and, if so, what are the values of the" new ROH brand?

 

Generally speaking, it is probably the older customers who find the cast sheets hard to read, so are we to:make the assumption that the new brand is only directed at young people? Similarly, ballet regulars are the more likely to scrutinise Cast Sheets and we all know that true fans are regarded as of lesser value than the drop-in’s.  What is it with organisations like ROH and the BBC who endlessly chase the youth market, often at the expense of it’s existing core base.The bringing in new people argument doesn’t really hold much weight.  Every age group ultimately gravitates through the next in it’s tastes and habits.

 

So, ROH, do tell us about this new brand which, so far, for me has only been a negative experience.  The only gainers seem to be those seeking a warm haven in central London without having to pay for the privilege.  Is this really what precious Arts funding is for?

 

 

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1 hour ago, penelopesimpson said:

The phrase ‘the new brand’ is interesting.  When did Open-Up become a new brand and, if so, what are the values of the" new ROH brand?

 

A very good question, Penelope.

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It’s difficult not to sound like a moaning old Aunt Edna but to see people sat outside the Crush Room eating takeaway food out of those large aluminium trays is pushing Open-Up - or the blind eye to anything it seems to encourage - to logical if awful conclusions. 

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11 minutes ago, Richmondhill said:

It’s difficult not to sound like a moaning old Aunt Edna but to see people sat outside the Crush Room eating takeaway food out of those large aluminium trays is pushing Open-Up - or the blind eye to anything it seems to encourage - to logical if awful conclusions. 

Can’t believe that this was allowed. There are plenty of suitable areas and plenty of staff to notice and direct people to the appropriate places. 

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4 minutes ago, Blossom said:

Can’t believe that this was allowed. There are plenty of suitable areas and plenty of staff to notice and direct people to the appropriate places. 

 

Yes, there are plenty of options or they can go outside. An embarrassed member of staff stood close pretending not to notice from what I could briefly tell. Perhaps Drop-In is a better name for Open-Up!

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15 minutes ago, Richmondhill said:

 

Yes, there are plenty of options or they can go outside. An embarrassed member of staff stood close pretending not to notice from what I could briefly tell. Perhaps Drop-In is a better name for Open-Up!

 

Then frankly they aren’t doing their job properly or haven’t been trained properly. Surprised that anyone believes this was an appropriate area for a picnic.

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1 hour ago, Blossom said:

 

Then frankly they aren’t doing their job properly or haven’t been trained properly. Surprised that anyone believes this was an appropriate area for a picnic.

They could surely always claim fire hazard given this is a walkway.  It does make me want to weep.  Are there to be no special places anymore that one aspires to, dreams about, saves up for and then experiences the magic?

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Regarding cast sheets, they don't need to waste any more time and money in new designs, just bring back the ones that were in use for Bayadere and Mayerling!

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13 minutes ago, Beryl H said:

Regarding cast sheets, they don't need to waste any more time and money in new designs, just bring back the ones that were in use for Bayadere and Mayerling!

 

Apart from the lack of a decent synopsis, particularly for Mayerling.

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12 minutes ago, JohnS said:

 

Apart from the lack of a decent synopsis, particularly for Mayerling.

 

Yes, La Bayadere really does only have two sentences worth of plot in each of Acts 2 and 3, but Mayerling is mind-bogglingly complicated.

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Apologies if this has already been mentioned further up the thread, but somebody pointed out on Twitter last night that now they aren't checking tickets until one enters the auditorium, what's to become of all the people - and yes, I've seen it happen frequently enough to consider it a non-isolated problem - who don't go to ballet very often, who book for ENB and then turn up at ROH by accident? It's especially confusing in Nutcracker season when the same thing is on in both venues, but I bet there are a handful of people who do it regardless.  They won't learn of their error until they try to enter the auditorium 5min before curtain, by which time they won't have time to get to the Coliseum.

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