Last-gasp arts editor calls shots for ENO

Last-gasp arts editor calls shots for ENO


norman lebrecht

February 12, 2016

The announcement today that the Independent newspaper will cease printing is both sad and inevitable. Sad, because 30 years ago the paper changed the face of British journalism. Inevitable, because it now sells only 40,000 copies, in place of 400,000 in its heyday.

David Lister, the veteran arts editor, joined the paper in 1986. In what may be one of his last utterances, David tries to read the runes for the future of an opera company in dire straits:

A worrying footnote in the history of opera took place this week. It occurred in the English National Opera’s production of The Magic Flute.  In one scene, Sarastro should appeal to his assembled Masons for their support in solving the problem of Tamino’s future, but instead he turned to the audience. In a twist that Mozart would not have foreseen, but one that the mischievous composer might have relished, the cast and director had clearly decided to forget the masonic overtones of the plot and make this moment a cry for help for English National Opera itself. 

One sadness after another.


But there’s not much for the Coli to learn from the Indy’s disaster, even though both have depended for years on rich men’s calculated benefactions.


  • Minutewaltz says:

    It will continue online, won’t it? Fewer people each year actually buy a newspaper, rather they subscribe and read them online. I think all papers will end up like this over the next ten years, or earlier even.

    • Rich Patina says:

      I think that perhaps you are dreaming with the “subscribe” part of your comment. I read all sorts of things online, but only if they are free. Any website that tries to force me to subscribe, I just move along – the information is almost always available elsewhere gratis. Movies, music, books and magazines are all available, free of charge, at my local library. Now, I have to take this approach because of a very limited income in my old age, but many others who could afford subscriptions are simply not going to buy them. The entire “information wants to be free” model is not sustainable and needs to be replaced with a new paradigm, but who knows what? It is just one of many, many things in modern society/culture that no longer work…

      • Eddie Mars says:

        There are 1-2 websites for which I am happy to pay a subscription – they offer value and content for my money.

        The Indy, however, offers nothing whatsoever.

        Under Amol Rajan’s woeful editorship, it’s been a race to the bottom of the barrel.

        The disappearance of John Rentaghoul on a permanent basis is cause for celebration! :))) May he never rise to the surface again!