Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Royal Opera House - new Executive Director

The Royal Opera House has just announced that Alex Beard will take over as Executive Director, after the departure of Tony Hall. Beard is a surprise choice but that's refreshing - he doesn't come from the usual performing arts cliques, and doesn't owe anything to anyone. A position like this needs someone with fresh objectives, who can support the  new creative management at ROH, without too much baggage of his own. Beard is currently Deputy Director of the Tate Gallery,  and its nation-wide group of galleries, which gives him experience broader than "just" London.  The Tate is huge, and financially solid, which is more than can be said for many organizations.  Beard is also on the board at Glyndebourne, so he knows opera, opera patrons and how the business really works from inside.  He's also only 49, despite his long experience, which may suggest he has a good future ahead of him.

"He brings a wealth of managerial experience from his very successful partnership with Nick Serota at Tate, as well as the insights and perspectives that this role has given him.", says Simon Robey, Chairman of the Royal Opera House Board of Trustees. "I am confident he will forge excellent partnerships with our artistic leadership and our executive team, and that they will, together, lead the Opera House to still greater heights.”

Beard wasn't the person I was dreaming of when I speculated on who might be the new head at ROH. That man was more of a wild card, being so "European". Some of the other possible candidates were interesting, some would have been bad news. So Alex Beard looks like an inspired choice.

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