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ROH seat prices

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Thought I might start a new thread rather than continue to hijack the Cinderella thread. I thought I'd post my letter to Alex Beard and his response if this is OK. Mods please remove it, if you think it's not appropriate. I don't think either of us said anything controversial (especially Alex!) We were just stating our respective viewpoints. I'll have to do it in full rather than as an attachment as I'm using a library pc and I can't find Word.  I always try to start a possibly negative letter with something positive which I why I start with Vadim's performance. it did occur to me while writing it I don't recall ever seeing Alex at a ballet performance, certainly not sitting with the rest of the ballet staff, but obviously I don't get to attend that many. He could be at others.


Dear Alex


First of all, I hope you managed to see at least one of Vadim's performances in Mayerling. They were both absolutely incredible; we all know what an amazing dancer he is but I'd no idea he was such a great actor as well. He was Prince Rudolf with all his flaws and contradictions. They were the most amazing performances I've ever seen (especially the second one) in over 30 years of ballet going. The only snag is we may have to wait for 3 years to see them again. I do hope not and I hope he is filmed for the cinema next time. Everyone who cares about ballet should see him. Massive credit too for everyone else onstage and for all those who coached him in the role. It was a real team effort but Vadim was the star. I only hope it's not too long before he can debut Onegin. I've been waiting for this since he joined the Company and was devastated when he pulled out in 2019 but after that Mayerling I'm sure he's ready now!


However, this brings me to the increasing price of ROH tickets. It is getting more difficult for ordinary ballet enthusiasts like myself who just have a state pension and small work pension to be able to afford tickets at the ROH, especially when we have to factor in transport and accommodation as well. I come from Preston and I was talking to two keen ballet supporters at the stage door, from Plymouth and Penrith and we all feel the same. We are all Friends and like to see as many of our favourite casts in our favourite ballets as we can but the increasing prices make this so difficult. As my eyesight isn't as good as it was, I like the stalls circle these days, especially for ballets like Mayerling when acting/facial expressions/small gestures are very important. I usually choose the restricted view seats like C77 to enable me to see more performances. For Manon in 2019 it was £36. For this run of Mayerling it was £58 and for the forthcoming Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella it's £70!; that's more than double the price in 3 years and is the cheapest range of seats in the stalls circle! Added to that the front row of the amphi is £112 for SB and Cinderella! Now I know the large-scale classical ballets are the most expensive, and obviously you are still having to recoup money after the pandemic, lack of international tourism, and because of the Arts Council grant cut, but even so these are large price rises for people with small incomes. I would hate for the ROH to end up excluding the audience that cares most passionately about its productions because we can't afford the ticket prices. I must admit my first thought after hearing about the Arts Council cut was to hope that ordinary ballet and opera enthusiasts wouldn't have to make up the shortfall by increased ticket prices, especially at a time when so many of us are struggling to pay basic bills and put food on the table. For many people, theatre going is a luxury not a necessity (as it is for us diehards!) and for all of us It would be good if you had a loyalty scheme; cheaper tickets if more are bought or pensioner discount or something to encourage your loyal supporters to remain loyal and not be taken for granted, as sometime seems to be the case, and also to attract a new audience. One enthusiast commented on the demise of the package scheme which used to enable her to see more performances, which is now more difficult. Many years ago, I wrote in saying something on these lines and was told that because you wanted your loyal supporters who lived at a distance to feel valued that's why you had cheaper matinee tickets to enable them to visit without having to stay over. That was great, but several years ago these cheaper matinee seats were withdrawn without any notice so how do we feel valued now? In company with many other keen ballet and opera goers I want to attend as many performances as I can but it is getting more difficult financially and it would be good if we had something more than increased prices to encourage us to attend more, not less, so we can carry on enjoying the wonderful performances you produce. You are the best opera house in the world, I'm sure, certainly for ballet, as the RB is currently in a golden era and seems set to remain so hopefully for years to come. I just want to be able to afford the fabulous performances they produce without having to struggle to afford it.


Many thanks for your patience!


This is Alex's reply



Dear Joan


Thank you so much for your email and for your steadfast support.


I was delighted to see how much you enjoyed Vadim's interpretation of Prince Rudolf. A landmark moment in his career, and I will pass on your comments to Kevin about Onegin. His time shall come I am sure.

I appreciate your concern over ticket prices, but as you say it is in an incredibly challenging economic environment, exacerbated by the latest round of Arts Council funding cuts. Our pricing model has to be set at such a level that we can break even financially to sustain the artists and run the theatre, and with rising energy bills and spiralling inflation this is harder than ever. We will keep the situation under very close review - affordability and access remain very important to us, especially for our most loyal audience members and Friends. I have shared your thoughts about packages and discounts with the team.

Your loyalty and commitment as a Friend of Covent Garden is deeply appreciated. Thank you for staying with us during this most difficult time. I hope to welcome you back to the Royal Opera House again.

With all best wishes




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Well done for writing in, jmhopton, as you speak for many whose income taxes also go towards subsidising the Royal Opera House and don’t have the luxury of being able to afford very high priced seats or who live close enough so that there is no cost of long distance train tickets, taxi and/or bus fares, plus/minus overnight accommodation to add in as well. Thank you. 💐👏👍

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Sorry I’m being dumb again… I originally interpreted it as  just pertaining to every £1000 of tax raised ..for Arts purposes! 
Of course if that’s for everything I can see the ROH as much as we may love it would come near the bottom of a very long list! 
Still three and a half pence is hardly anything at all in todays money. 

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Alex Beard attends many performances, usually in the back row of the stalls, on the side block . He also made the effort to go to both performances at Doncaster in the autumn and was friendly and sympathetic to Friends who were able to attend.

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