English National Opera Appoints New Chairman

Classic Arts News   English National Opera Appoints New Chairman
The English National Opera has appointed Vernon Ellis as chairman, the company announced.

Ellis is currently international chairman at the management consulting company Accenture; he has been a member of the ENO board since 2001 and acting chairman since December 2005. He is also a trustee of the Royal College of Music.

Ellis, who has been serving as acting chairman of the company and was previously vice-chairman, said, "I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to continue in the role of chairman in a permanent capacity. I have been going regularly to ENO since the mid-seventies and enjoy being part of such an innovative and adventurous company."

ENO was plagued by internal conflict and high-level staff turnover during the 2005-06 season: both artistic director Sešn Doran and chairman Martin Smith resigned, and music director-designate Oleg Caetani's contract was cancelled last December. In January, staff threatened to strike over pay disputes.

There has also been good news for the ENO this past season. Madama Butterfly, film director Anthony Minghella's opera-directing debut, won London's 2006 Olivier Award for best new opera production. (The same staging will open the Metropolitan Opera's 2006-07 season.) Several other ENO productions were also nominated for awards. In February, the company received a much-needed Ô£2 million donation from businessman Lord Laidlaw of Rothiemay to support future productions.

ENO's 2006-07 season will include the world premiere of Asian Dub Foundation's Gaddafi, the U.K. stage premiere of Philip Glass's Satyagraha, and new productions of Verdi's La traviata, Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, Britten's Death in Venice, Janšcek's Jenufa and Gilbert and Sullivan's The Gondoliers.

Edward Gardner will become the company's music director in May 2007.

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