An opera press conference without the conference

English National Opera announced its new season this morning with a flourish of bromides from acting chief executive Cressida Pollock, artistic director John Berry and incoming music director Mark Wigglesworth.

It’s a promising season, but the most novel aspect of it was that, after opening statements, the new head of media decided that there would be no questions. Participants could mingle instead with directors over coffee for the purposeful exchange of views. A good idea in principle, but when I asked Ms Pollock how the money would be raised with the Arts Council turning off the taps I got a pre-cast McKinsey statement that she must have given to the board.

In an open q&a, I might have challenged her with a supplementary question, but in this format I just gave up. Stick to proper press conferences in future is my conclusion.

eno carmen

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  • Between this and the presser in Munich last week, it sounds like opera companies are deciding it isn’t worth their while to open themselves up to journalistic questioning. The Met Opera long ago discontinued season-announcement press conferences altogether, though those had their own problems: too many strange, left-field questions from critics that tended to waste a lot of everyone’s time.

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