Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Now festival classical night is selling again

SALES of tickets for the classical night at this year’s Henley Festival have picked up.

Last week the Henley Standard revealed that less than a third of tickets had been sold for the fifth and final night when the English National Opera will perform on the “floating” stage.

Only 1,800 of the 6,400 tickets for the Sunday night had been sold with two weeks to go and organisers said that if there was no improvement the classical night could be axed from the festival programme in future years.

But sales have picked up in the last few days and this is expected to continue over the next week.

Chief executive Charlotte Geeves said: “We have had a really solid response and some good conversation with the general public and they are buying tickets, which is great and is really encouraging.

“We have sold 61 tickets since last Friday and more are selling every single day. People coming in and buying tickets say the article made them want to buy them, so it has prompted a really good response.”

Some Henley Standard readers suggested the low ticket sales were down to the Sunday being the wrong night for a classical act.

Kim Bennett, from Henley, wrote on the Henley Standard Facebook page: “Sunday is not the right night for the classical music. Put it on Thursday night and go back to Sunday night being a fun upbeat end to the festival. The Bootleg Beatles or ABBA tribute band type of band is fantastic for Sunday evening.”

Lesley Thomas wrote: “I remember when the festival was all classical. Sunday night isn’t the best night. Move it to Thursday or Friday. Put a new and upcoming star on the Sunday night with lower price tickets.”

Miss Geeves said the festival didn’t always have a choice of when to schedule artists and tickets had struggled to sell when the classical night was on different nights in previous years.

She said: “What we have tried to do is put on acts that will reach a greater audience. Putting on the festival is not an exact science. We can’t necessarily say we want a classical act on Wednesday and a young artist on Thursday because it doesn’t work that way. It is about availability of artists.

“There are lots of factors that go into putting the programme together.”

The ENO will appear under the baton of music director Martyn Brabbins and include a 70-piece orchestra and a 40-strong choral section.

Their repertoire includes many of the great operas, including Carmen, The Marriage of Figaro, Madame Butterfly, Turandot and La Traviata as well as some Gilbert & Sullivan.

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