The Future of Opera

1999 Royal Philharmonic Society Lecture - David Pountney

Given on 13 February 1999 at the Royal Over-Seas League, London

The Future of Opera

“…the future of opera…will need people who are able to stand up and proudly reassert the value of the thing itself and its central part in a civilised society.”

“...the British regional companies are some of the most serious places of operatic endeavour in Europe - and I have good standards of comparison - and [that] British singers, directors, conductors are renowned all over Europe for their professionalism and quality. It is a brilliant achievement and an inspiring story and yet we are strangely confused and unable to celebrate or even defend it.…”

The RPS Lecture

offers a platform for eminent thinkers and cultural commentators to examine aspects of the future of music. Recent speakers have included the neuroscientist Susan Greenfield, composer Steve Reich and opera director Graham Vick.

The RPS Lecture is generously supported by Peter Bull



Andrew Keener, independent recording producer: The world would be poorer without live musicmaking. More power to the RPS's essential support of a vital artform.


The RPS Gold Medal for outstanding musicianship has been awarded only 100 times since 1871.