Damon Albarn and filmmaker Terry Gilliam are leading a campaign to attract more youngsters to the opera, encouraging first-timers to ditch the tuxedo and dicky-bow in favour of wear jeans and trainers. Anticipating that the youth of today will no doubt require a stern drink before and ideally after the show, Albarn also promised “club-style bars” for all!
The pair are just two of the numerous public faces for ‘Undress for the Opera’ – a new scheme launched by the English National Opera which will offer shows such as La Traviata and Don Giovanni to new audiences. Tickets will be considerably cheaper than the normal rates (just £25 for the very best seats in the house), while a post-show party will also be laid on, complete with cast and crew members. Bars at the London Coliseum will be transformed with beer promotions and operatic-themed cocktails and Gilliam even takes the mickey out of the whole thing in his tongue-in-cheek ‘opera etiquette guide’, “I thought opera was for a bunch of old farts - the bourgeoisie in dinner jackets. I thought it was an art form for the rich and successful and almost dead,” he writes, adding, “Thank God the English National Opera is housed in the Coliseum, because it's an old music hall and not an opera house. Another great thing about the English National Opera is that the operas are in English so there's no excuse for not turning up, English-speakers.”
Registration for the scheme opens on Wednesday (October 3, 2012) opens today at www.eno.org/undress and applicants must state whether or not they have attended the opera before.