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Sunday, 20 May, 2001, 09:19 GMT 10:19 UK
Royal Opera House turns to pop
Royal Opera House
The Covent Garden venue was expensively refurbished
London's Royal Opera House is set to open its stage to pop and rock stars to help broaden its appeal and boost finances, it has been reported.

Icelandic singer Bjork is said to be in talks about staging a concert at the Covent Garden venue in September, the Sunday Times reported.

A whole range of pop stars could soon be appearing on Sunday nights, which is traditionally the night ballet and opera companies rest.

The opera house, which reopened in December 1999 after a 200m refurbishment, has been under pressure to recoup its finances and is frequently criticised for being too elitist.

Broader remit

Its new executive director Tony Hall, former head of news at the BBC, is believed to be intent on broadening the remit of the venue, which is home to both the Royal Opera and Royal Ballet.

One of Hall's predecessor's, Sir John Tooley, told the Sunday Times: "The opera house is not a sacred temple to be opened only to those who know the magic words.

"It makes sense to throw it open to a broader audience and to make money in the process."

Stars who would be welcome to perform at the opera house might include Sir Elton John, Celine Dion and Barbra Streisand, the newspaper said, citing informed sources.

It is unlikely to host the likes of Eminem or Marilyn Manson just yet.

See also:

09 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Strike threat at Royal Opera House
11 Jan 01 | Entertainment
A year in Covent Garden
11 Jan 01 | Entertainment
BBC's Hall takes top opera job
02 Nov 00 | Entertainment
'Arrogant' opera chiefs lambasted
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