You are hereOpera-loving George Osborne is in tune with the times

Opera-loving George Osborne is in tune with the times

We should celebrate politicians who show their support for the arts, rather than criticise them
How depressing that the Chancellor of the Exchequer should be lambasted for attending two performances of Wagner’s Ring at the Royal Opera House. At one point, we even had paparazzi outside waiting to catch any politician who turned up. Would he be condemned for attending a football match? I suspect not.
At the moment, the ROH, of which I am the chief executive, is in the middle of four complete cycles of the Ring. It’s a hot ticket that sold out a year ago. The cast is world-class; our own Bryn Terfel is this generation’s must-see Wotan. The orchestra is on stunning form under Sir Antonio Pappano, who’s giving performances of a lifetime. Audiences, artists and staff alike are on a high.
The challenges don’t get any bigger in opera. So it’s great when politicians of all parties come to see something special and show support for the arts. As the London 2012 Festival demonstrated in the summer, the arts are something this country is really good at. We should celebrate success.
Apparently, George Osborne’s critics believe that he should be at his desk every evening of the week. Which makes you wonder, who would be a politician? Now, forget the fact that, in Mr Osborne’s case, he’s a Wagner fan – he’s attended Wagner operas since he was a child, going with his father, making it to Bayreuth, too. Even in austerity Britain, turn the argument around and think about the vote of confidence visiting politicians give to what we in the arts industry are doing. And, of course, it gives us a chance to make the case for support – as in so many aspects of life, seeing is believing.
All of us in the arts need those in power, or aspiring to power, to spend time with us, and thankfully there are a number in all parties who do. So let’s not put them off. - Fly at a Smile-Price