Opera Luminaries Question Speed of English National Opera's Appointments

Classic Arts News   Opera Luminaries Question Speed of English National Opera's Appointments
Three top figures in English opera published a letter in the London Guardian today criticizing the speed with which the English National Opera replaced former CEO and artistic director Sešn Doran.

The letter was signed by Peter Jonas, the revered former general director of the ENO who currently heads the Bavarian State Opera; film, theater, and opera director Deborah Warner; and tenor Philip Langridge.

The three note that within a day of Doran's departure last week, the ENO appointed Loretta Tomasi, previously the company's executive director, as chief executive and elevated director of opera programming John Berry to artistic director.

"We ask that the chairman and board of ENO answer as a matter of urgency questions concerning their actions in choosing not to advertise these positions," they write. "The stability of ENO after its recent vicissitudes is a matter of public concern of all those who have its interest at heart."

Martin Smith, the chairman of the ENO, defended the company in a statement.

"[T]he board faced a choice," he said. "It could either enter into an extended period of uncertainty and speculation surrounding these jobs, or confirm in post two individuals with proven artistic and managerial records who were already carrying out many of these responsibilities with full board confidence. It concluded that the latter course was in the best interests of the company."

Smith also condemned press reports suggesting that the ENO was in turmoil, pointing out that attendance is rising and that the company recently extended its sponsorship deal with the satellite broadcaster Sky and Artsworld.

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