English National Opera is to give free tickets to under-18s for all Saturday night performances of its spring season in 2019.
The organisation described the move as a “seismic leap forward”.
It said the initiative was part of its plans to encourage younger audiences, and to make them “passionate, rowdy, excited and transfixed” by the genre.
The free seats will be in the balcony of the Coliseum, ENO’s home, and will be available for productions including Akhnaten, La Boheme and The Merry Widow,
ENO said the scheme “dramatically expands [our] audience engagement strategy and forms part of the company’s central mission to ensure the art form is accessible to everyone”.
Chief executive Stuart Murphy said: “We were founded on the belief that opera is for everyone. We strive to continually stage opera of world class quality and bring it to as many people as possible. Removing cost as a barrier to entry for under-18s is a seismic leap forward for ENO and for opera as a whole, and we hope to entice as many under-18s as possible, from the musically obsessed to the just plain curious.”
He added: “ENO is founded on passion and we want young audiences to feel alternately passionate, rowdy, excited and transfixed. We can’t wait to welcome them to the London Coliseum.”
Children under the age of 16 will need to be accompanied by an adult. However, as part of the initiative, adults who pay full price for a balcony ticket can bring up to four children under 16 free of charge. Teachers bringing school groups can accompany up to 10 children under 16 and free of charge.
The company already runs Access All Arias, which offers full-time students or anyone aged 16 to 29 the best seats in the house for £30 or less.