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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 3 September, 2002, 12:08 GMT 13:08 UK
Opera House may stage musicals
Tony Pappano
Pappano: "Live music is something you can't replace"
The Royal Opera House could stage musicals, its new artistic director has said.

Tony Pappano, who at 42 is the youngest person ever to have taken up the post, said he was also considering using "enhanced sound", or amplification.

"I'm a big fan of musicals. I think it's our job to expand the vistas of what is and is not musical theatre," he told BBC News Online.

The Royal Opera House has come in for criticism in the past for being too Úlitist and charging too much for tickets, a perception the current regime is trying to correct.

Tony Pappano
Pappano says he wants to build a "house style" at the Royal Opera
The conductor, who spent 10 years at the helm of the Theatre de la Monnaie in Brussels, said he was anxious to break down psychological barriers to opera appreciation.

'Modern and hip' "I like football - does that mean you can't like opera?

"There will always be a certain image of what opera is, but I wish people could come and see Ariadne auf Naxos and see how modern and hip it is.

"Live music is something you can't replace, it's a visceral experience, seeing people singing without microphones, from their guts and portraying emotion."

Mr Pappano said there was a shortage of "big voices" in opera, at a time when orchestras are getting louder.

"I have to say that 50 years ago there were many more singers with bigger voices.

Royal Opera House
Pappano would consider "enhanced sound" for musicals
"Instruments have been built to be more and more powerful over the years. But the bigger voices are not there. Big voices need time.

"Sometimes the singers have been around for two years and they're on at the Met - you force your voice too early."

He said he hoped to encourage longer-term thinking at the Royal Opera House.

"The idea is have singers come back, not just one every five years, but to have some continuity.

"I think it's important a house style is built through a relationship with people - and if the combinations are not always being juggled, but sometimes kept the same, that's good."

Tony Pappano's first production at the Royal Opera House, Richard Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos, opens on Friday.

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