English National Opera - the same English National Opera that just lost £2.5m in a year - is to spend an estimated £500,000 on "a marketing campaign, which aims to make opera more mainstream". But at the same time promotes ENO as "the entertainment destination for the cultural cognoscenti". Broad - but narrow. Non-elitist - but elitist too.
We all know that opera companies need to market themselves, and marketing costs money. And ENO certainly need to do something to fill those acres of empty seats. But is spending more than 5% of annual box office income on sending conflicting messages the way to do it?
Audiences are not as stupid as some organisations think. If the price is right - and, crucially the quality is too - then people will flock to even the most challenging work. The Royal Opera House proved that decisively with packed-out houses for The Minotaur and Written on Skin. ENO need to address what they're selling before they think about how to sell it.