In an extraordinary show of unanimity, the leaders of all the world’s major opera houses have signed a declaration of support for the embattled director of English National Opera. From Peter Gelb at the Met to Vladimir Urin at the Bolshoi, the opera community denounces recent attempts (by the Arts Council and his own board) to unseat Berry, pointing out that the financial diffficulties he faces are shared around the world>
The signatories are individuals of high ego worth. They could not normally becounted on to agree if the sun was shining. Their declaration is a mark both of Berry’s personal popularity and of his importance across the operatic spectrum.
Read it below. UPDATE: And here’s why they did it.
As the leaders of opera companies and festivals around the world, we are alarmed by the
recent questions that have arisen regarding English National Opera and its talented Artistic
Director, John Berry, since they are certainly not deserved. Under Berry’s strong ten-year
leadership, the ENO is today regarded as one of the most creative forces in opera,
consistently producing important new work. The ENO is a showcase for local talent and
theatrical innovation, with the current hit run of Richard Jones’s production of Wagner’s Die
Meistersinger von Nürnberg just the latest example in a long string of artistic successes for
Berry and his company.
The ENO’s co-productions with other international companies have wisely saved it millions
of pounds in shared production expenses in recent years, while at the same time making it
one of the U.K.’s greatest cultural ambassadors. In fact, this season alone, 18 ENO co-
productions will have been seen in 17 different opera houses in 8 countries, with tens of
thousands of international opera lovers in attendance from New York to Perth.
At a time when it has helped to further embellish London’s reputation as a leading center of
cultural creativity, it doesn’t seem fair for the ENO to now be under fire.
It is not the fault of the ENO that it is suffering from the same financial woes that many
international opera companies are facing these days. Rather than being criticized, Berry and
his company should be applauded for their indefatigable efforts to keep our art form fresh.
We stand together in support of him and his notable achievements.
Dutch National Opera
Bavarian State Opera
Theatre du Chatelet
Marc de Mauny
Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre
Opéra de Lyon
The Metropolitan Opera
Artistic and General Director
Theatre an der Wien
San Francisco Opera
Per Boye Hansen
Den Norske Opera og Ballett, Oslo
Dr. Bernhard Helmich
President and CEO
Komische Oper Berlin
Director and Chief Executive
Paris National Opera
The Santa Fe Opera
Teatro Real, Madrid
Joseph V. Melillo
Brooklyn Academy of Music
Vienna State Opera
Canadian Opera Company
Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
General Manager and Artistic Director
Teatro alla Scala, Milan
Grand Théâtre de Genève
Gran Teatre del Liceu
Deutsche Oper Berlin
Stuttgart State Opera