People in the UK are more likely to have been to see an opera, dance or ballet performance in the last 12 months than people in Germany or Italy.
A study published this week by the European Commission found that across the European Union, 18 per cent of people had been to an opera, dance or ballet production in the last 12 months.
In the UK this number went up to 22 per cent, but in Italy – the home of Puccini and Verdi (right) – only 17 per cent of people surveyed had been to see an opera, dance or ballet event. In Germany the number was 19 per cent.
People in the UK were also keen concert-goers with 37 per cent of those surveyed having been to a concert (of any kind of music) in the past year against a European Union average of 35 per cent.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, people who placed themselves high on the social ladder were most likely to go to opera or dance performances. Of those who hadn’t been to a performance in the past year 16 per cent of people in the UK said it was because it was too expensive and 18 per cent cited poor choice near where they lived.
The survey found that the most popular cultural activity across the European Union was watching or listening to a cultural programme on television or radio.
Sweden emerged as the most cultured European Union country with 34 per cent of Swedes having been to a dance, ballet or opera performance, 90 per cent having read a book (against 80 per cent in the UK) and 61 per cent having attended a concert in the last 12 months.
The survey questioned 27,000 people from countries in the European Union.