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Wednesday, 12 December, 2001, 12:32 GMT
Opera fans asked to sponsor props
Royal Opera House's Verdi
How much for the lute? Royal Opera House's Verdi
The Royal Opera House (ROH) has written to supporters asking them to sponsor production props such as crowns and swords.

Director Francesca Zambello said the venue needed "even more of your money" if it was to maintain its world-class standards.

She explained it cost 150 for Macbeth's gold crown, 250 for Othello's sword, 500 for a wig in the production of Queen of Spades and 1,500 for a sedan chair in Don Giovanni.


It's very important that we raise money from private sources

Royal Opera House

The ROH already receives a grant of 20m from taxpayers' money, 23m from the box office and aims to raise 8m from sponsorship.

Two years ago, the government was forced to raise its grant from 15m to 20m, in a bid to ensure the venue reopened after a multi-million pound redevelopment, funded largely by the National Lottery.

But the Covent Garden-based building insisted its appeal to raise 8m from private sources was "not tacky, but necessary".

A spokesman stressed that the director was not asking for the individual items to be sponsored, but was illustrating the high price of putting on productions.

"The object is to bring in money and that's what it is doing. It is just another way of attempting to do that," he told BBC News Online.

'Altruistic'

"It's very important that we raise money from private sources. It's not intended to be tacky. It is proving to be successful.

"If you call any charity, which we are, it is what they do. It is a fund-raising appeal and we run all sorts of fund-raising activities.

"Last year we raised 6.5m from private sources. This year our target is 8m.

"This is an appeal that has been addressed to Friends of the opera house and people who have already registered an interest in support of the Royal Opera House. It's altruistic giving."

See also:

20 May 01 | Music
Royal Opera House turns to pop
01 Dec 99 | Entertainment
Royal rebirth for Opera House
11 Jan 01 | Entertainment
BBC's Hall takes top opera job
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