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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 March, 2004, 14:56 GMT
WNO 'opera for a fiver'
The WNO in performance
Stretching out to new audiences - the WNO is cutting prices
The Welsh National Opera have slashed their ticket prices for their new home at the Wales Millennium Centre.

Top price tickets will be cut by 25% to 35, while cheapest seats will cost as little as 5, a reduction of 37%.

The WNO say the increased seating capacity at the new venue makes this possible.

"Many more people will be able to discover the WNO for the first time," said general director Anthony Freud.

"It also means people who come to the WNO already will be able to go more often. If you already book for three shows you can now see a fourth for free."

The WNO say an extra 21,000 people will be able to see their programme in the 104m centre in Cardiff Bay, compared to the company's current home at the city's New Theatre, which has a capacity of a little over 1,000.

At 5, people can think on a Friday evening about going to the opera in the same way as going to the cinema
WNO spokeswoman

The opera company are pitching themselves in the middle of mainstream sport and entertainment and say going to the opera will be cheaper than going to a top rock concert or watching rugby.

It costs a minimum of 29 to see Wales play Italy in their next home game in rugby's Six Nations and tickets for the Red Hot Chili Peppers at the Millennium Stadium in June start at 35.

The WNO will offer 250 tickets at 5 in the 1,750 capacity auditorium, with no ticket costing more than 35.

The company is confident it will fill the extra seats and increase box office takings.

A WNO spokeswoman said: "At 5, people can think on a Friday evening about going to the opera in the same way as going to the cinema."

They admit that in their current home the cheapest seats, which cost 8, are uncomfortable, but the Wales Millennium Centre offers a different prospect.

Mr Freud said: "The WMC is a world-class building with fantastic sight-lines and acoustics, as well as standards of comfort.

"We hope that with this radical pricing policy that the WNO will be an irresistible proposition to people who have resisted up until now."

Impression of the Wales Millennium Centre auditorium
Cheaper tickets for the WNO's new home

Top price tickets at the 2,000-seater Royal Opera House in Covent Garden range from 50 to 170, although it offers 67 seats on the day of a performance from 4 to 43.

But the WNO admit they will have to consider carefully the ticket arrangements for when opera star Bryn Terfel is in town, with a public ballot one of the options.

The baritone is due to return to the WNO to appear in Wagner's The Flying Dutchman in two years' time.

Tickets are expected to go on sale by early Summer for the WNO's opening first season next February.

Productions include Verdi's La Traviata and Welsh tenor Dennis O'Neill will take the lead in Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni) and Pagliacci (Leoncavello).

Terfel stars at new opera home
28 Sep 03  |  Wales

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