Monday, 2 August 2010

Valete: Castle Ward Opera

My disappointment regarding the demise of Castle Ward Opera is already well known. I began a debate about it in February this year, in fact.

The traditions and ambiance of Castle Ward - a country estate - cannot be replicated in an opera house. Any attempt to undermine the Arts Council of Northern Ireland by, for instance, former patrons of Castle Ward Opera continuing the tradition of wearing formal evening dress at alternative venues - such as the Grand Opera House, Belfast - would be frowned upon by them. They would doubtless consider it as "elitist".

I wish to give prominence to this subject. Indeed I received a comment from a member of Castle Ward Opera Company today and it reflects my sentiments; so much so that I shall reproduce it here:-

"As a member of the now defunct Castleward Opera I can sadly confirm the news. The Arts Council have removed funding and forced an unhappy coalition between Castleward and the Opera Fringe Festival. A new Artistic Director has been appointed for the uninspired 'opera company northern Ireland, after much half hearted and disorganised faffing by the Arts Council.

No programme has been put in place but it seems likely that the Opera House will be venue. Castleward will no longer be used. A very sad piece of news indeed. Given that the management at opera house rent the space at an exorbitant rate, we can look forward to endless productions of Carmen and Aida to cater for an audience who think nothing of shelling out £100 to see Lady GaGa at the Odyssey but suddenly start crying 'elitist' when asked to pay roughly half that for a night at the opera.

We are definitely having 2 gala nights first weekend in September, full orchestra, soloists from over the years, extended interval to say a big final Thank You to all our supporters over the years. Should be an amazing and emotional couple of evenings. Hope to see you all there."


Anonymous said...

this is a very sad state of affairs

Anonymous said...

Don't think this would have happened on Sir Donnell's watch!