Not only do you have naturally great skin and very little to suffer from hangovers yet: there are two excellent Under 30 schemes available to you, golden youths: the Glyndebourne G<30 scheme, and the Grange Park Meteors scheme, as well as offers from Opera North, the ENO and elsewhere. You lucky, lucky young people. And don’t forget the little-known, but totally brilliant ROH Graduate Scheme.
Glyndebourne G<30 is nothing short of brilliant. If you are aged 16-29, you can buy £30 tickets to specially-nominated performances (usually for two operas per season), and you can also buy standing tickets (£10) to any other performance you like. So, you can see the whole Glyndebourne season on a shoestring if you like (as I once used to do – oh happy days!). What you need to do is:
- Register on the Glyndebourne website and remember to tick the “Under 30” box
- Glyndebourne G<30 tickets are released on a certain date and time (in 2015, it was 2 March). Put the booking date and time in your diary in letters of fire, with fiery reminders.
- Have a good look at all this year’s operas the week before you book, on the Glyndebourne website, so that you’ve worked out what you want to see (whether in a Stalls seat for £30, or standing for £10)
- On the day: get out your diary, and get dialling and redialling: the lines usually open at 10am, and by 10:45am most of the tickets will be gone. I found it usually took me 12-16 attempts to get through. Let constant vigilance be your watchword.
- Be superbly charming and polite to whoever answers the phone. It is their busiest day, but you are their new best friend. While getting your tickets, be sure to ask about any Pre- (or Post-) Performance Talks, as these are often put on especially for G<30 nights, and are usually free (or £5) and well worth attending
- Decide on your most beloved friends with whom to share your gorgeous Glyndebourne tickets!
- Ask your boss for the relevant day /afternoon off: Glyndebourne starts in the afternoon, not the evening
The super-preparedness doesn’t stop there. If you are travelling by train, buy your train tickets in advance too, and they can be as little as £5 each way from London to Lewes (you can book up to 3 months in advance). There is a free shuttle coach from Lewes to Glyndebourne and back, organised by Glyndebourne, so if you want to catch that, be sure to get the right train: it varies from performance to performance, so check the performance schedule. Otherwise, a taxi is about £15 each way. The coach is, naturally, much more sociable.
Then all you need to do is plan your picnic!
Grange Park Meteors
The Grange Park Meteors scheme, similarly, offers £30 tickets to the under 30s, on specific dates. The steps are like Glyndebourne:
- Register on their website as a Meteor
- Put the booking date in your diary in thickest, blackest ink
- On the day, book promptly online or over the phone
- Ask your boss for the relevant day /afternoon off
However, be careful: the website says Meteor tickets are “from £30.” That tricky little “from” means some Meteor tickets could potentially be more expensive than the fabled £30. Check before you commit.
In 2014, Grange Park Opera went one step further and offered any unsold tickets to their Meteors at the £30 rate, six days before performance. This is fantastic for students who are free during summer holidays: of course, not so great for young professionals trying to impress in their first job (a sudden holiday request at a week’s notice doesn’t endear you to anyone). However, for students, it’s a gift, and well worth exploring if and when available. You need to keep checking through the season (by calling the Box Office regularly and with extreme politeness).
Getting to Grange Park Opera is not quite so easy as getting to Glyndebourne, if you are taking the train: you can either go to Basingstoke (£30 taxi each way) or Winchester (£20 taxi each way). Accordingly, most people drive to Grange Park Opera (which is why they don’t run a train shuttle coach as Glyndebourne do: there just aren’t enough of their audience taking the train). Driving is, therefore, probably the best way. Coordinate with friends and split the petrol.
Opera North Under 30s Scheme
Opera North run an Under 30s scheme, in which you are invited to sign up for either Leeds or Nottingham as your venue of choice. Amazingly, tickets can be free or the princely sum of £10. Superb value. They also include pre-performance talks, and discounts at the bar.
ENO – Access All Arias
ENO’s Access All Arias is available for anyone aged 16-30, as well as any full-time students who fall outside that age range. As an Access All Arias member, you can book two discounted tickets, and crucially your guest can be any age: so you can bring your granny, or your godchild. You can also get a half-price programme. You can’t book these tickets online, though, so once you have registered for the scheme, you need to call the box office on 020 7845 9300 to find your tickets.
The Royal Opera House Graduate Scheme
The Royal Opera House run an excellent Student Scheme, which they thoughtfully extend to recent graduates too. Although this might not take you all the way up to 30, it’s excellent for your early 20s. Crucially, you must opt into the Graduate scheme before you leave university: but then your Graduate status will persist with the ROH for several years. It is well worth doing: once you are signed up, just watch your email, and occasionally the ROH will send you a fantastic offer (like a £200 stalls seat for £20). The amount of tickets you can get this way is entirely unpredictable, but even if it only gets you one or two tickets a year, they will be excellent.
The Royal Opera House Young Friend – Royal Opera House Insider Scheme
The usual standard rate for a Royal Opera House Friendship is £90 per annum, but they reduce it to £54 if you are under 30. This gives you the same priority booking as other Friends, i.e. the precious chance to snaffle the cheap tickets early on, and the magic ability to book Rehearsal tickets, but also access to three other events each Season (including a backstage tour invitation!).
Welsh National Opera Under 30 offer: £5 tickets!
At every performance, Welsh National Opera offer at least 60 £5 tickets for Under 30s. This applies to their tours as well as their home performances in Cardiff, so you have a strong chance of finding a ticket as they tour widely across Wales and England. Check their Under 30s page to find out which operas are on offer this year.
- The £5 tickets do sell out, so be quick!
- Book your tickets by contacting your chosen performance venue directly, rather than WNO centrally, as availability will vary from venue to venue (depending on how many other people have booked)
- NB: unlike other schemes, there’s no numerical limit on these tickets – so you can take as many friends as you like!
- Be ready to prove your age (or lack thereof!)
Student Pulse is a discounted ticket and loyalty scheme for classical music concerts, run jointly by 11 of London’s best orchestras and venues. The program allows you to purchase cheap tickets and accumulate points which can then be redeemed for great rewards! They have an app: available on iTunes here.