Sing till your sides split at the Royal Opera House

The stirring battle over the redevelopment of the Royal Opera House in the heart of London’s Covent Garden has taken a hilarious twist, thanks to the Covent Garden Community Association.

In a scene-stealing piece of propaganda, the CGCA has issued a mock ROH programme – the “recently discovered operatic libretto” aptly entitled Il Rigmarole della Casa d’Opera Regale.

Subtitled Cock-up in Covent Garden, the storyline tells of the years of disputes, role-reversals, changes in architects and so on since improvements were first mooted in 1975.

The serious disputes over the multi-multi-million pound plans are too complex to be explained in a dozen DW Diary pages (and are probably best understood when sung in Italian). There is,however, a space here for a taste of the CGCA humour.

The lyrics – courtesy of copywriter Monte Cristo Associates – are brilliant: “Who cares if our designs are crass and stark and boring? So was Berlin under Hitler and Coventry under Goering.”

Plaudits go to the CGCA for the funniest piece of publicity in the world of opera, and to designer Roy Cooper for his input. Westminster Council was due to consider the latest plans on Tuesday evening. Don’t expect fat ladies singing quite yet.

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