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British Opera Takes a Break

October 11, 1998|REUTERS

LONDON — Visitors hoping to catch a performance of Britain's Royal Opera House company will be out of luck from January to December next year.

Mired in a $21-million debt and a string of management crises, the company said it will stop performing for that period to cut costs and put its affairs in order. After December 1999, when the opera house is scheduled to reopen after renovations, plans call for fewer performances and cheaper tickets, Chairman Colin Southgate said.

The opera and Royal Ballet companies have been performing in other London theaters for the past year while Covent Garden undergoes a $380-million redevelopment. But box office receipts have fallen without the cachet of red plush and chandeliers at the Covent Garden site.

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