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



Diana Burrell, composer and Artistic Director of the Harwich Festival, Essex: The RPS is such an important organisation - where would music be without it?


In the Beatles film Help, the Fab Four sing Beethoven's Ode to Joy from 'the famous 9th Symphony' (commissioned by the RPS) in order to tame an angry Bengal tiger. Of course everyone joins in...