>I do concede that poor programing decisions
>were made by the old management
>most noticebly by Mr Payne who
>now critizes the ROH from his
>ENO office! But I am not
>convinced that lead in times are
>so long for straight forward works.
> A simple opera like Cosi
>Fan Tutte or the Barber of
>Seville can be put on in
>a relatively short time. I
>suppose there could be big cancellation
>fees that would have to be
There's the scheduling, the principals to arrange - singers' diaries are booked years in advance. Any theatrical production is a MAJOR undertaking. I've done most jobs backstage in my time. I know the sort of hours people work on these productions. I have some idea of the length of time it takes to negotiate opera.
Not to mention that changing the plans would have been media suicide - can you imagine the headlines?
At the moment, good publicity is VERY important to the ROH, and I think they're doing an excellent job, especially in being upfront about the reasons for cancellation.
Frankly, I'm amazed the whole thing opened when it said it would, and that the work seems to be done - Sadler's Wells was still a building site on its opening night.
>Also by opening the box office so
>late one has only three days
>to book before the closure for
>Christmas. I am not convinced
>that the weekend swas need for
>tweaks to the software. Box office
>software must be pretty straigthforward and
>almost off the shelf. Besides they
>have plenty of time to tweak
>it earlier in the year.
I'm sorry, but that's complete rubbish. They couldn't install the software until they knew what was happening with the auditorium, what prices were being charged for what seats, and what seats are available for each performance.
As any computer person here can attest, NO software rollout goes smoothly. Particularly not when you're running it on Windows NT, which is what the ROH seems to be doing. I know they've been having problems with system crashes and such stuff, which is inevitable with a new system, while the bugs are being ironed out.
As for tweaking it earlier in the year, the existing box office staff were working on bookings for the seasons before the ROH opened, and are you seriously suggesting that the ROH should have hired people months in advance to sit around and test the software? That would have been a major waste of money, since these people would have been paid to do very little.
No matter how well designed a package is (and the ROH's booking software has a lot of nice bells and whistles), you can never fully tell how it's going to react until it's put under proper testing. It may seem fine to the techies, but the average users do things to computers that make the mind boggle, and come up with things that computer people never dreamed of.
> They should have opened the season
>bookings a week early and on
>a weekend. That is not
>much to ask for!
>And also not to announce to the
>people waiting in line of the
>cancellations is pretty inexcusable!
Did it occur to you that they might not have known? That the people responsible for making the cancellation decision might not have told the box office, or that the box office might not have had time to implement the decision? I know the Sunday Times had the news, and I know precisely when the Sunday Times' deadlines are, having worked for them, but sometimes people find out about their jobs by reading it in the newspaper.
Your idea of opening on the weekend is an interesting one, but there are other factors to consider. What about the already considerable crowds in Covent Garden on a Saturday? What about the cost of overtime for box-office staff, since inevitably there would have to be more staff on duty, and weekend overtime is usually more expensive than weekday?
Yes it's bad communication, yes it's not right, but for heaven's sake stop whingeing.
There is a superb Opera House that opened on time, with most of its productions intact, that has been greeted with joy by thousands of people. The Royal Ballet has superb facilities that the dancers are still awed by. The Royal Opera has also benefited enormously.
It may not seem important to you, but hundreds of people's working conditions have been drastically improved, and this is a blessing both for them, and for the audience who can expect to see improved performances as a result. Personally I would far rather know that the performers had adequate working conditions than worry about a lack of glitter out front.