English National Opera Cancels Contract of New Music Director; Strike May Delay Mikado

Classic Arts News   English National Opera Cancels Contract of New Music Director; Strike May Delay Mikado
The English National Opera has withdrawn the appointment of Oleg Caetani, who was to become the company's music director next month, the London Times reports.

A statement from newly appointed chief executive Loretta Tomasi and music director John Berry said that Caetani "will not be taking up the position of music director but will maintain an ongoing relationship with ENO as guest conductor."

Over the course of a month, the ENO has lost all of its senior leadership. Artistic director Sešn Doran resigned in late November; chairman Martin Smith quit last week amid criticism over the rapid replacement of Doran with Tomasi and Berry.

Unnamed opera "insiders" told the Times that ENO officials were concerned that Caetani, who is also artistic director of the Melbourne Symphony, would not devote enough time to his new post. Others said that with the departure of Doran, who appointed him, Caetani had lost his main supporter at the company.

Doran announced in February that Caetani would replace Paul Daniel, the ENO's music director for eight years ending in spring 2005. Initially, Caetani had been scheduled to take up the post in fall 2006, but his start date was later moved up to January.

Caetani served as music director of the Weisbaden and Chemnitz Opera Houses in Germany in the 1990s, and took up his post in Melbourne in January of this year.

Nicholas Kenyon, the director of the BBC Proms, will chair a search committee seeking a new music director, according to the Times.

The Times also reports that ENO workers are planning to disrupt rehearsals for the company's production of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado, which opens February 3. The workers recently voted to strike after rejecting a contract offer from ENO management.

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