Friday, 30 January 2015

Civil war at the ENO? Anthony Whitworth-Jones

What's happening at the ENO? Last week, Martyn Rose resigned as Chairman of the Board, This morning, Henriette Götz, appointed in April as Executive Director, resigned as well.  Read more about her HERE). Latest news is that Anthony Whitworth-Jones,  has become acting Executive Director with immediate effect.

Whitworth-Jones was General   Direector of Garsington Opera from 2005-2012, the years of transition between the death of founder Leonard Ingrams and the new  Garsington Opera at Wormsley  supported by Mark Getty. Prior to that, he was at Glyndebourne for nearly 20 years, being General Director at the time the auditorium was rebuilt.  He's a personable man and a hands-on administrator, infinitely better qualified than some of the ACE and BBC apparatchiks. Although he's only been on the Board of the ENO since September 2012, he's sharp enough to know how things work, and too experienced to be pushed into corners.  With the Arts Council's vendetta against London and against the ENO and Barbican in particular, the ENO needs a firm hand on the tiller.

In a letter leaked a few days ago, Martyn Rose is reported to have said that ENO Artistic Director John Berry "is, in my mind, the problem not the solution, and no meaningful change will ever take place whilst he remains. Time is of the essence. We cannot wait any longer."  We don't know specific details. What's critical is the decision of the ENO Board as a whole, and the sort of positive changes they would support.  The ENO is a vital part of our cultural life. It's nonsense to think its resources and expertise can be replaced by transferring funds to micro mini companies outside the metropolis.  Hopefully, soon, a new New Business Model and the unity of purpose essential in these troubled times will emerge.

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