Disaster: Ex-Met chief quits English National Opera

Disaster: Ex-Met chief quits English National Opera


norman lebrecht

July 29, 2015

We hear that Sarah Billinghurst, former artistic manager of the Metropolitan Opera, has resigned from the board of disintegrating English National Opera.

Sarah was brought in by John Berry to support his vision of international co-productions and superior casting. She has a Rolodex of contacts unequalled in the opera world. She also has a very wide reach into wealthy American society and she was working on creating an endowment base for ENO to pursue its ambitions.

With John Berry gone, however, there was nothing to keep Sarah at the Coli.

Her loss is entirely calculable. It costs ENO an indispensable artistic resource and a potential line of financing.

Disaster is too moderate a word to describe it.

Sarah Billinghurst


  • norman lebrecht says:

    Message from Dame Anne Evans:
    As an old and loyal member of the company, I can’t help feeling that we should now stop wailing about the ENO’s recent past and instead look forward to its future. Given that it has a fine new music director in Mark Wigglesworth and that a new management structure is being put in place, the ENO deserves all the support we can give it.

  • Sir Peter Jonas says:

    Anne is right but the loss of Sarah Billinghurst from what has been proven to be a very weak governing board within hours of John Berry’s resignation is dangerous for the company and the future of ENO. he was the one shining light in a group that has proved ineffective and at times disloyal.The weak leadership of the board over the last two years has only been superceded by the malevolence of today’s Arts Council following its own transparently anti opera and anti ENO agenda. They wish to take advantage of the terms of ENO’s ownership of the freehold of the Coliseum. To protect ENO’s work,employees and future a new director for the company and a strengthening of the Board is imperative and urgent. The new and brilliant music director, Mark Wigglesworth and all the artists and support workers are brilliant but they do need effective, tough and uncompromising advocates!