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In praise of subsidy

The failure of Raymond Gubbay's commercial opera shows we need subsidy

By Michael White   June 2004

It was, according to the Evening Standard, “the biggest shake-up the subsidised arts have ever faced.” There were editorials in the Times and Guardian and items on the Today programme.

And what was this world-turning, cultural event? It was the launch of a small-time commercial opera company at the Savoy Theatre by the impresario Raymond Gubbay.

But in the end the world did not turn. And after only a few weeks, the Savoy Opera declared it would pack up in June because it was a business, ruled by the bottom line. And if you don’t get enough paying customers, you…

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