Royal title is offputting to the public head of Royal Opera House

Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. “If you are wandering up Bow Street, you can look in and see activity,” says Beard. “Architectural symbolism is super-important. And having a window on the institution creates a different sense of relationship with the wider public than if you just have a portico.”Ahead of the unveiling, Sir Antonio Pappano, music director at Covent Garden who had signalled he would soon leave the role, has confirmed he will stay until 2023, suggesting there was no-one else ready for the job yet.”I will take a sabbatical in the 2020-21 season,” he told the newspaper. “Why? Well, my departure was all agreed, then there was a huge problem about my potential successor. Alex Beard (left) on stage at the Royal Opera HouseCredit:Alastair Muir “I’m not going to throw 16 years of work away because the right person isn’t yet there to follow me.” The Nutracker, Royal Ballet ROYAL OPERA HOUSE producer Sir Peter Wright with his birthday-cake on stage afterwards  Sir Antonio Pappano The project, entitled Open Up, has taken three years and £27m to complete, and includes new cafe and bars with wifi, and a refurbished restaurant, to entice people into the building “whether or not you’re coming to a show”.It will also have a new front of house programme, with “taster and full-length live performances” in the foyer, and the “intimate” Linbury Theatre redesigned and designated for “affordable” tickets. “So what we are trying to do with this project is to celebrate the Royal Opera House in a way that is true to who we are, but also bring in a whole new audience to experience it.” The inclusion of “Royal” in the name of the Royal Opera House is “off-putting” to the general public, its chief executive has claimed, ahead of unveiling a project to “open up” the building.Alex Beard, who has been in post since 2013, said the Covent Garden opera house suffered judgments about its title, with those who are not familiar with its work fearing it is not for them.A redesign of the building, due to be officially opened this week, is intended to make it more welcoming to visitors, allowing them to see its activities from the outside before being lured in.In an interview with the Sunday Times magazine, Beard said: “Well, we had three problems. “Royal. Opera. And House. Each of those words is charged.“They say this place is exceptional and high quality, but if opera isn’t part of your world and the royals are by definition ‘other’, and this is not your ‘house’, it can be a bit off-putting. Swan Lake at the Royal Opera House in MayCredit:Robbie Jack/Corbis via Getty Images Sir Antonio Pappano Swan Lake at the Royal Opera House in May “I had planned other things in 2020-21 — and I don’t think it’s bad to give the musicians a break — but I’ll come back for two more years after that. read more