Tony Hall, the Royal Opera House chief executive, took up the post 10 years ago after having worked for the BBC. Under his guidance, turnover has risen from £45 million to £106 million, says The Daily Telegraph, while the Government grant now makes up just under a quarter of that compared to 40 per cent a decade ago.
On his decisions
“I've yet to meet anyone who is alienated by what we are doing. I feel very strongly that our job is to make sure that wherever people are, they can find opera and ballet. But the most important thing is to ensure the quality of what we do.”
On opera for the elite
“I think we are layered as people. I think if we like to ‘veg out' it doesn't necessarily mean we can't also enjoy high culture.”
On his £390,000 pay packet
“My wage is frozen. I did say to the chairman that I would take a pay cut but he said no. He was of the view that it was an appropriate reward. You know I am aware, um, I do understand that the climate is tough and there's much more scrutiny now of pay and I hope people think they get good value out of me. I hope they do.”
“I thought we had to show leadership. It would be a damn sight harder for smaller organisations to absorb the cuts. The world out there is tough and we just have to run with it.”
On being chairman of Festival 2012 — the Cultural Olympiad
“The eyes of the world are going to be on us, so I think we need to make statements about what Britain is really good at. It's not easy on top of the day job. But it matters.”
On the BBC move to the north
“I think it's absolutely the right thing to do. People's attitudes towards the North are wrong. The thought of being able to work there with all those assets is terrific.”
On a ROH in the north
“I did have an idea for a Royal Opera House Manchester. I think that national institutions need to have roots outside London. But post the new government and the cuts it was, how do I put it, a little controversial, not the environment [for it]. Five, six, seven years from now, maybe. I think that would be a good thing.”
Photo: Johan Persson, © All rights reserved by Royal Opera House Covent Garden
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.