Opera in the Park in Leeds introduces new ticket charge

Opera in the Park 2010 The city council blamed "extreme budget pressures" for introducing the charges

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Opera fans will be charged up to £12 a ticket for a previously-free annual music event in Leeds.

Leeds City Council said "extreme budget pressures" had meant it needed to charge for this year's Opera in the Park at Temple Newsam.

The open-air council-run classical music concert on Saturday, 30 July will have 50,000 tickets available.

BBC presenter Aled Jones will compere and perform at the event, which has been running for 18 years.

Adam Ogilvie, city council executive member for leisure, said the charges had been introduced reluctantly.

However, he said: "We think the entertainment on offer makes it excellent value-for-money and we are looking forward to it."

The council has said it is looking to make budget cuts of £90m in 2010/11.

Firework finale

Aled Jones will be joined on stage by opera soloists Orla Boylan, Heather Shipp, Gwyn Hughes Jones and David Kempster as well as the Leeds Philharmonic Chorus.

The music will be provided by the Leeds-based Orchestra of Opera North.

For the first time, the event will culminate with a firework display.

Opera in the Park tickets will be on sale from Monday 6 June.

Leeds City Council will not be charging for another event, Party in the Park, which features pop acts, on Sunday 31 July.

A total of 70,000 free tickets will be available for that event in a ballot.

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