Testing The Art Of The Free Market

The new Savoy Opera in London is a grand experiment in the business of art, writes Norman Lebrecht. “The revolution was, unseen, in the bottom line. This was opera without subsidy, opera with an entrepreneurial spirit – opera as it used to be, organised by resourceful enthusiasts for an audience that consisted not of bow-tied aesthetes and glams in gowns but, in the main, of working men and women who might otherwise have been watching farce in Whitehall, a musical on Shaftesbury Avenue or a DVD at home. After sixty years of public support for the arts and a general recognition that they are a jolly good thing, here was a genuine attempt to test the market and see what sort of people, and how many of them, might go to the opera if it was brought to them at a guaranteed professional standard and at a reasonable price.”