IT WAS with a heavy heart that I read Adrian Mourby's "Leave opera to us fogies" (TES, March 5). Opera companies have abundant evidence that, far from not wanting to "touch opera with a bargepole", many young people positively relish this "unique art form designed for grown-ups". I quote from letters recently received: From S Penfold, Year 8 student: "I really enjoyed the opera The Golden Cockerel, it was interesting, fun and exciting all at the same time"; and from the head of music at the same school: "We were so pleased that the whole of the year group could attend and even more delighted that they were totally spellbound by The Golden Cockerel. They have spent many lessons discussing the production and have raised some interesting points showing the depth of thought which has been stimulated."
Sadly, many of the letters we receive express the surprise of the young people at how much they enjoyed the opera. A recent letter began: "When my teacher first told me that we would be going to an opera, I wasn't exactly happy. I thought that operas were boring as I had only seen them on telly, but as soon as I arrived at the theatre the atmosphere made me feel excited. As soon as it began, I soon changed my mind about opera being boring."
I hope that any teachers who were considering taking their students to an opera were not influenced by this article. Students are not persuaded, or forced, to cheer and stamp their feet at the end of our BP Amoco Schools' Matinees. They are happy to demonstrate their appreciation and enjoyment.
Director of education and access
Royal Opera House