The music director of English National Opera has been threatening to resign all season, sometimes on a weekly basis. It is not easy being in charge at a company that is being progressively shrunk by Arts Council diktat, operating without an artistic director who might sensibly mitigate or redirect the cuts.
Those close to Mark urged him consistently not to resign. He had damaged his career once before by walking out of La Monnaie in Brussels.
What’s more, ENO seemed to be resolving its problems with chorus and orchestra and setting out its future with some gusto. Only last week, the chorus declared itself content with the new deal.
The problem, though, was that in a diminished future there is less for a music director to do, at music director level. The productions that were offered to Mark were uninteresting revivals. One was a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. He was unhappy with the prospects and he did not care who knew. There may have been additional causes, but he’s not saying.
So he jumped.
With bad timing.
On a day when all news is overshadowed by the Brussels atrocity.
He had been in the job for less than a year.
UPDATE: What next at ENO?
We regret to confirm the announcement that Mark Wigglesworth feels unable to continue as Music Director despite the best efforts of the Board and Senior Management to persuade him to remain. We are disappointed that he will not stay to lead the artistic forces through this particularly challenging period. Mark has agreed that he will continue as Music Director until the end of the season and will then return as a Visiting Conductor in the 2016/17 season. Mark is a world class conductor and we look forward to welcoming him back as guest conductor in future years.
Mark Wigglesworth has today resigned as Music Director of English National Opera, effective from the end of the current season. He will continue to honour his contractual commitments as a conductor and looks forward to continuing to work with the wonderful musicians of ENO.
Mark Wigglesworth is not commenting further at this time.