The Royal Opera is to share its Covent Garden home with the English National Opera, according to a published report in The Times of London.
The Royal Opera House's management structure, which has been condemned as a shambles by Members of Parliament (Americans were able to view the disarray first-hand in a television series that aired on PBS last spring), will be disbanded, and a new board will be formed. Prior to that, Richard Eyre -- former artistic director of the National Theatre -- will review the site and report on how it can best be used when it reopens in 1999, according to the Times.
The English National Opera will abandon its current home in the Coliseum and join the Royal Opera and Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House -- which is currently closed for renovation and which will be known as the Covent Garden Theatre when it reopens.
The news comes as a shock to the British arts community. The ENO has long had a reputation as "the people's opera," with performances in English and tickets at affordable price levels ($10 and above), while the Royal Opera is known for pricier tickets (it is not uncommon to spend $250 or more for a single ticket).
Both opera companies have operating deficits of approximately $5 million. -- By Rebecca Paller