Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What price a top arts administrator?

As arts cuts announced today start to bite, few people are aware that the Royal Opera House pays its two top people more than £630,000 and nearly £400,000. Although Covent Garden is refusing to identify them, it is likely that they are chief executive Lord Hall and music director Antonio Pappano -from The Arts Desk
It is interesting to apply some quick and dirty maths to that £630k figure. Let's assume it is Tony Hall who is earning the big bucks, and let's say that the average audience at Covent Garden is 2000 and there are 200 performances a year. That means £1.58 from every ticket sold at the Royal Opera House is going to the CEO as salary. At the risk of repeating myself...

* My crude calculation ignores the cost of pensions and other non-salary benefits which could add another 50p to that £1.58. The calculation is illustrative and, of course, the CEO's salary is funded from sources other than ticket revenue. But if, hypothetically, the cost of the CEO was removed and other funding was unchanged, ticket prices could fall by at least £1.58.

** The Arts Desk should be congratulated on providing facts instead of opinions on arts funding. These facts confirm that in the arts world, as elsewhere, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.

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2 comments:

Vecchio John said...

Your hypothetical maths is a bit shaky. If you consider the Royal Ballet, Opera and all the activities in the Studio Theatre the number of performances must be nearly double what you state.

Pliable said...

I clearly state my maths are “quick and dirty”. And as the excellent Arts Desk article points out the lack of information offered by the Royal Opera House makes analysis difficult. But the available facts show some jaw-droppingly high salaries at the ROH.

Already this post is suffering from classical music’s current affliction - arguing about the trees rather than the wood.

Yes VJ, my maths may be “shaky”. But even allowing for orders of magnitude error they are revealing.
So I would now be interested to hear your views on the top salaries at the Royal Opera House.