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Wednesday, 13 February, 2002, 11:01 GMT
Opera boss plans screens on greens
The Royal Opera House
The Royal Opera House wants to widen its appeal
The Royal Opera House is attempting to widen its appeal by showing its performances on a series of large screens erected across Britain.

The opera house will trial the use of screens in May at Victoria Park, in Hackney, east London, with a relayed performance of the Royal Ballet's Romeo and Juliet.

Tony Hall
Tony Hall took up his post in April last year
If the screening proves a success, the venture will be repeated outside London.

The initiative is the idea of new executive director Tony Hall, who left the BBC last year to join the opera house.

'Something new'

His plans also include free screenings of performances in cinemas and online chats with stars such as Darcey Bussell and Placido Domingo.

There will also be broadcasts on BBC Four, the corporation's digital arts channel which launches on 2 March, and a reduction in the price of tickets.

Mr Hall told the Independent newspaper: "The big screen in Victoria Park can be the start of something new.

"Over the coming year I hope to be taking our performances to people outside London through these park relays and I am talking to a cinema chain."

Mr Hall said he was determined that the Royal Opera House and Royal Ballet should not just be seen in the south east of England.

"We have to stand for excellence on the main stage and at the same time get that excellence to as many people as we can.

"I have spent a lot of time working on how we can improve on that. Partly, it's about price, but it's also about developing our partnership with the BBC.

"The first night of Rigoletto this season was seen by 2,200 people in the house, 3,000 in the piazza and 900,000 on BBC Two."

See also:

14 Jan 02 | Showbiz
Pavarotti's farewell to mother
02 Apr 01 | Arts
New opera boss takes charge
16 Mar 01 | Music
Opera lovers petitioned
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