People are mad that opera's biggest show almost sold out before general sale. Here's the positive.

28 October 2019, 18:04 | Updated: 28 October 2019, 18:14

By Kyle Macdonald

Missed out on this round of tickets for ‘Fidelio’ at the Royal Opera House next year? It’s frustrating, but there’s so much to celebrate.

Covent Garden's six-night run of Beethoven's opera Fidelio is one of the most highly-anticipated musical events of 2020. It features a star cast including tenor Jonas Kaufmann and young soprano Lise Davidsen. The production is being put on in 2020, the year of Beethoven's 250th birthday.

The majority of tickets were snapped up by members before they went on sale to the general public. The Royal Opera House said in a statement that a few hundred left of 13,000 seats were available when the general sale opened. This caused a rapid stir in the press. The music critics of both the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph argued that the public should have had more chances to buy tickets, before members snapped them up.

The critics said ROH receives a lot of public funding, so if the general taxpayer pays for the house, should they get the same rights as a member?

Firstly, we want everyone to get tickets and it sucks when things sell out. We'd be keen for Kaufmann and Davidsen to have a long Covent Garden Beethoven run to rival The Lion King or Hamilton. We'd go several times.

This opera is going to be great, and can totally understand the disappointment.

But we think there's so much awesome within this situation too. Here's why...

We live in a golden age of opera singers

Tenor Jonas Kaufmann commands Jonas Brothers levels of excitement – and with very good reason. He has a phenomenally powerful voice, and an incredible presence on stage. Norwegian soprano Davidsen is singing Leonore. She has everyone talking, has recently released her debut Decca recording, and is already regarded as one of opera’s greatest talents.

Anna Netrebko is in her absolute prime. Her La forza del destino at Covent Garden (with Kaufmann) was labeled by one writer as the most glorious singing anyone born after 1970 will ever have heard (hear it below). There's Juan Diego Flórez, Bryn Terfel, Angela Gheorghiu, Stuart Skelton and so many more. Let's face it, we've been living through a golden age, and people are excited.

How wonderful (even if it means online ticket queues are longer).

La forza del destino – 'Pace, pace mio Dio' aria (Anna Netrebko; The Royal Opera)

Opera IS affordable in 2019

Opera houses around the country offer tickets to all their fantastic operas for so much less. Glitzy Glyndeboune has an amazing £30 for under 30s scheme, ENO tickets start at £10, and £13 will get you to the Covent Garden clash between the Queen of the Night and Tamino in Mozart's The Magic Flute.

Our friends at Opera North have Try it ON, which offers first-timers the best tickets in the house for £20. Take them up on that offer, we say.

Top opera is totally cheaper than premiere league football, and in some cases a gourmet burger (and we enjoy all those things). Looking beyond just one show, this is an awesome thing.

Tickets are still available

Just like Hamilton, the Royal Opera House will keep the tickets for Fidelio faithfully flowing. With their Friday Rush, the Opera House offers last-minute tickets, even for sold-out shows. So don't let anyone tell you all tickets are gone forever, just get a notification in your calendar to grab some cheapies.

There are other ways to watch

It's 2019 and there's amazing streaming everywhere. So many opera houses now give you (free) seats at the front of the house through Facebook and YouTube live streams, or an opera streaming subscription from the likes of Met Opera On Demand (Nabucco and chill, anyone?).

Live cinema is also an incredible experience, and in March 2020 Fidelio will be beamed live around the world – find out more here.

Here's some Wagner in concert from Jonas, getting you very close indeed. What a voice.

Opera is great

And any experience of live opera, whatever the show, can be life-changing. Let's not forget that. And this is just an excuse to hand things over to Stephen Fry, who had this to say on Friday...