Inside Out Christopher Gillett

Christopher Gillett
Tenor Christopher Gillett's unexpurgated view of life on, off, behind and under the stage.

Why Christopher didn’t apply for that lucrative new job…

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As a performer, I’ve always worried that the responsibility for whether or not an audience has a good time largely rested on my shoulders. Well, it seems that if I’m singing at the Royal Opera House, I needn’t worry anymore! Apparently concerned that the experience of going to the opera isn’t turning out as well as it should, the Royal Opera House is recruiting a HEAD OF VISITOR EXPERIENCE.

Curious to see if the ROH is being turned into a theme park, I looked up what this job entails. The advert says they want someone ‘to further develop, champion and embed the highest customer service standards across all of our customer-facing departments’, and to develop ‘a set of service delivery targets for all key aspects of customer service’. Being a tenor, the very first thing I noticed was the fee. Fifty thousand pounds.

That might seem like peanuts to the many ex-BBC managers in the audience but to the jobbing singer it is an enviable sum to fork out for someone who (as far as I can tell from wading through the gobbledegook) is in charge of the ice-creams, especially when you compare it to what you get paid for actually going out on the ROH stage and singing the opera. I’d apply for the job myself but, despite 30-odd years in the opera business, I’m not qualified. I have no experience of ‘the delivery of revenue targets, ideally in a large-scale customer-facing sales environment’. Or have I? I have absolutely no idea. I’ve probably spent too much time customer-facing in a musical target environment.

Still, when ROH punters start receiving nuisance phone-calls asking them to ‘rate their recent visitor experience’ they’ll know to whom to complain. That is if the Head of Visitor Experience hasn’t already climbed the managerial ladder and, terrifyingly, been given an entire opera company to run.