ENO seeks artistic director. You have 9 days to apply.

ENO seeks artistic director. You have 9 days to apply.


norman lebrecht

February 08, 2016


This is an opportunity to join a newly formed, senior leadership team reporting directly to the Chief Executive. ENO is in the early stages of establishing a new artistic vision both at the Coliseum and in partnerships around London and the UK.

The Artistic Director will be responsible for leading the artistic vision for English National Opera. (S)he should develop and deliver an artistic strategy of quality, adventure and innovation in line with the overall strategy for the company and consistent with the founding values of English National Opera to reach new and wider audiences. The Artistic Director will work closely with the Music Director and Chief Executive who has responsibility for the overall strategy and management of the company. (S)he will also be responsible for setting and maintaining artistic standards, upholding the company’s artistic vision, and ensuring that the work of visiting companies performing in the Coliseum supports that vision.

We are looking for a team player and experienced artistic leader who will be excited at the opportunity to be a principal in an innovative and highly creative arts organisation that champions opera for all.

The closing date for applications is 17 February 2016.

Click here to download application form.

john berry
last man standing


  • Nicola Lefanu says:

    It’s disappointing to see this isdone through a recruitment agency who will charge a *fortune* for short-listing the replies. ENO could save a lot (far more than a year’s salary for a chorus member) by accepting replies directly.

    • Lawrence Kershaw says:

      I agree entirely. It seems to have become the normal when frankly those in the business should know full well the merits or otherwise of people available in the industry.

      • Frederick West says:

        Agreed! If we took out the ‘vision’ word there wouldn’t be much left to do. One infers that nobody had any vision before all of this.
        Hope the interview includes a proper eye test…

    • Eddie Mars says:

      The nominal ‘intendant’ comes from the ‘consultancy’ racket herself. Knowing nothing about opera or the skills which make opera work, she has decided to ask other people who know nothing about opera to make a shortlist.

      If a high-enough fee is charged, there could be no public doubt in the veracity of the choice made.

      Or could there?

      Of course, this would really be the right moment for Richard Mantle to return to the Coli in the driving seat… but what would someone who has spent their entire career as a top opera manager know about opera? Bookies will be favouring candidates who have

      a) never directed or conducted an opera in their lives
      b) but have worked for the BBC
      c) or for an international corporation
      d) a track-record in castrating a large arts organisation to achieve ‘down-sizing’

    • Halldor says:

      Using agencies is a way for senior management types who lack confidence or competence to cover their own a*ses. I think it’s called “due diligence” in the business world. So when it goes wrong, they can reply “But we paid a lot of money to experts to get this right. We’re very disappointed in THEM, but you can’t accuse US. Not our fault, guv.”

    • Robert King says:

      One does indeed wonder if Odgers (for ’tis they) may charge somewhat more than the annual salary of a chorus member for their services in headhunting this position? That said, if they come up with a brilliant suggestion of someone who wouldn’t have been thought about by anyone else in the business, or who they manage to persuade to take on the role when they wouldn’t otherwise have done so, that headhunting fee maybe is justified.

      But usually for appointments like this, everyone in the business already has a jolly good idea of who has itchy feet, who is the next hot property, who would do a good job – and who wouldn’t. The headhunters can’t possibly know all the likely candidates, so they ask all the usual people for suggestions and recommendations. Having extracted this advice, Odgers get in touch with possible applicants, do the weeding, present a shortlist as being all their own work, and when an appointment is made, present a fine bill – and (as Private Eye would say) it’s “triples all round”.

      If you look at the list of Odgers’ recent Arts portfolio appointments (and they aren’t the only headhunters operating in this field), you can see that a serious amount of Arts money is surely going to such companies. But senior management probably aren’t going to criticise, because they may want to be top of the headhunters’ list when an even better job comes up…

  • Pedro says:

    Will we get to see the list of all applicants, like for the Norwegian opera? Would be entertaining…


  • Peter Phillips says:

    It’s the usual management speak (to put it politely): strategy (three times), vision, plan, team player, leader and all the usual guff which emanates from rational/bureaucratic organisations in the post modern world. No doubt there will be key performance indicators and performance criteria as well, though not, of course, the orchestral and choral performance excellence which still characterises ENO and for which I am happy to travel for from south west Wales. Looking forward to Norma next week.

  • Michael Volpe says:

    It does seem a remarkably short timeframe for such a role to be applied for. One expects they have a good idea of their choice already and this may be a procedural exercise. You would certainly expect them to have an idea anyway!