In the meantime, many companies have been looking to achieve sustainability through new buildings, while doing what they can to reduce waste in their pre-existing spaces. The Royal Opera House’s production workshop just outside London, built in 2015, is in the top 10% of sustainable non-domestic buildings in the UK. While Milan’s storied opera house La Scala’s new office is a zero-energy building, producing more energy than it consumes thanks to rooftop solar panels and an open-cycle geothermal system. La Scala has also cut its carbon emissions by more than 630 tonnes since 2010, according to a recent New York Times article, having upgraded to LED and smart lighting.
Elsewhere, the Opéra de Lyon, Göteborg Opera and Tunis Opera are currently partnered on a new project investigating how best to implement the circular economy of production materials, while Leeds’ Opera North is soon to launch its first “green season”, using shared set design across its three productions, recycled or second-hand costumes, and including a new “eco-entertainment” work titled Masque of Might.
As the Theatres Trust’s study shows, there is still a long way to go, and a lot of money required, to make the changes necessary to safeguard the future of opera amid the ever-worsening climate crisis, but there appears to be no shortage of determination and imagination among opera houses in their quest to do so.
Take Me to the Opera: The Power of Glyndebourne is on BBC News Channel and on BBC Reel
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