Well done BBC big wigs, you’ve done it again! As announced this morning the Royal Opera will be broadcasting on European TV and online its much awaited production of Les Troyens. Now why the BBC would pass on the chance to show it live on BBC 4 on 5 July is anyone’s guess (the schedule doesn’t exactly look crammed with goodies)…it seems the newly launched The Space has become the outlet of choice to bury non mainstream high quality programming. Similar fate was in store for the 50th anniversary performance of Britten’s War Requiem from Coventry Cathedral last month. Had the BBC been a commercial entity and they depended on advertising and viewing figures to keep going, it would be more understandable. Surely Les Troyens will not be the next X Factor, but when they have a whole channel dedicated to more “intellectual” niche programming why not utilise that positioning to a greater effect?
The fact that the UK misses out on the free to air TV relay is a sad reflection of the BBC’s priorities. Incidentally that is the night I’m watching it live in the House, but would have loved to know that the whole UK could have had the chance to see it live too. After all the Royal Opera House is funded by our taxes as does the BBC, but once more they have spectacularly failed to work together and bring opera to an as wide an audience as possible. Especially coming on the back of the bizarre decision to show Puccini’s Il Trittico in three consecutive Fridays instead of in one evening!
Oh well if anyone want to see it…in November, there will be cinema screenings (in establishments left outside the Met Opera’s exclusivity blanket). The rest of us will just pop to Glyndebourne’s website and watch each of their productions being available online globally.
PS Possibly not a bad idea to tell Richard Klein, the Controller of BBC Four, how we feel about the lack of coverage of opera on his channel, email away: richard.klein at bbc.co.uk