ENO’s revolutionary £5 tickets for La Bohème at Fairfield

The English National Opera chose Bastille Day to announce some revolutionary ticket pricing for a special, one-off performance of La Bohème at the Fairfield Halls next month.

Tickets are just £5 (plus a £1 booking fee) for the ENO’s performance of Puccini’s classic opera in Croydon on Sunday, August 21 – and only a few seats remain available after the initial release yesterday afternoon.

La Bohème is one of the best-loved operas in the world. It tells the story of Parisian poet Rodolfo’s doomed love for seamstress Mimì. The Fairfield performance will be sung in English, as part of the ENO’s mission to make opera accessible to the widest possible audience.

The announcement represents a welcome move – on quality and value – for the Fairfield Halls, which has been justifiably criticised since its re-opening after a lockdown “hibernation” for the paucity of its artistic offering, with concerns raised about the venue’s part when Croydon is supposed to be London’s Borough of Culture in 2023.

The council-owned Fairfield Halls were subject recently to a controversial, incomplete and unfinished refurbishment which is under investigation into possible unlawful activities.

Meanwhile, this week, the venue’s new manager, Jonathan Higgins, has taken to tweeting excitedly about the BBC Symphony Orchestra using the Fairfield Halls as a rehearsal venue ahead of tonight’s First Night of the Proms.

Not much on: just five performances in the last two weeks of July at the Fairfield Halls

“Which is all very nice,” said one Town Hall source, “but I don’t think the Council Tax-payers of Croydon will be overly thrilled at the idea that they paid £70million to create the world’s most expensive rehearsal studio.”

The ENO’s La Bohème, however, is seen by many as a shift in the right direction, and a marked improvement of the sparse programming that Higgins and his bosses at Bournemouth-based BHLive, the venue’s management company, have otherwise got lined up.

According to the Fairfield’s own website, there are just five performances for the rest of this month, while the ENO concert is one of only seven performance dates in the whole of August on the Fairfield calendar.

Read more: £67m arts centre – with no art gallery and few performances
Read more: Bafta-winner Scanlan joins calls for new bosses at arts centre
Read more: Conflicts of interest, incomplete contracts, unlawful payments
Read more: Fairfield Halls project never went to competitive tender

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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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