Former Scottish Opera Chair Suggests Merger Is Possible

Classic Arts News   Former Scottish Opera Chair Suggests Merger Is Possible
The former chairman of the Scottish Opera said today that the struggling company may be forced to merge with Opera North in Leeds, England, the Scotsman reports.

In the prepared text of the speech, which the paper acquired in advance, Duncan McGhie said, "'It's extremely sad, but the plain truth is that current levels of funding from the Executive"—referring to the Scottish government—"are not enough."

He added, "If the Executive is not mindful about finding Scottish-based solution to a national issue, we should not be too proud to seek solutions elsewhere."

The merger with Opera North would be a "worst-case scenario," he said.

Asked by PlaybillArts for comment on the possibility of a merger, a spokesperson for Scottish Opera said in a statement, "Scottish Opera has made excellent progress over the last few months. The current chairman, William Taylor QC, has a positive and productive relationship with culture minister Patricia Ferguson and with colleagues at the Scottish Executive and Scottish Arts Council. We continue to work with them to maintain a positive future for Scottish Opera in Scotland."

McGhie was chair of the company from 1999 to 2004, when he stepped down in the midst of a financial meltdown. The same year, the company agreed to lay off its chorus and shut down its main-stage productions for the 2005-06 season as part of a bailout agreement with the Executive.

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