The Times published a letter this morning from Humphrey Burton about rumoured threats to the future of English National Opera. Not rumoured, actually. The Arts Council is anti-ENO, full stop.
We hear however that the Covent Garden music director is putting together a follow-up letter to try and get a Save ENO bandwaggon rolling.
Sir, Rumours are swirling around the corridors of the British operatic worldthat the chorus of English National Opera is under threat of emasculation,perhaps even elimination, as happened a decade ago in Scotland.Last Friday I attended ENO’s controversial new production of Verdi’s TheForce of Destiny. Certain aspects of the show could be criticised, but therewas universal admiration for the powerful contribution made by the chorusunder ENO’s dynamic new music director Mark Wigglesworth. Energy, power,clarity: all were there in spades; in nearly 70 years of opera-going I’venever heard better choral singing.I don’t think it’s going too far to argue that it would be culturalvandalism to sacrifice ENO’s splendid chorus on the altar of economy. Suchradical proposals should be publicly discussed in advance ofdecision-taking. Public opinion forced a rethink on tax credits; why not onopera house cuts, too?Humphrey BurtonFormer head of music and arts at BBC Television