Deloitte signs five-year deal with Royal Opera House

LONDON - Deloitte is investing £1.75m in sponsoring the Royal Opera House for five years, creating a three-day festival that will aim to attract young professionals to Covent Garden.

The event is to be called Deloitte Ignite, and will aim to widen access to the Royal Opera House and inspire new audiences to be excited about opera and ballet.

This year's festival will be run under the auspices of choreographer Wayne McGregor and include contributions from Julian Opie, famous for his paintings of the members of Blur, and a club night run by DJ Scanner. It takes place from September 12 to September 14.

As part of the deal, Deloitte will be able to entertain staff, clients and partners at the venue.

John Connolly, Deloitte senior partner and chief executive, said: "The Royal Opera House partnership particularly appealed because it brings together our appetite for innovation and focus on young people with a commitment to widening access to the arts."

The festival will run alongside the Royal Opera House's 2008/9 season, which includes productions of 'Carmen', 'Tosca' and 'La Traviata'. In July, the ROH is also planning to stage Damon Albarn's opera 'Monkey: Journey to the West', after it proved a hit at the Manchester International Festival last year.

Tony Hall, chief executive of the Royal Opera House, said: "Deloitte Ignite is all about bringing a new audience into the Opera House -- young professionals who are currently under-represented here -- and offering something contemporary and different to inspire them to become excited about opera and ballet."