Mark Wigglesworth: Why I quit ENO

On the eve of his last production, the outgoing music director is interviewed this morning by Anna Picard for the Times (firewall).

Two key quotes:

I said to them, if you can find £750,000 to protect the full-time chorus, I will stay. When I discovered that was not an option, I began to wonder whether the choice was neither financial nor artistic but political. And once I felt it might have been a political choice, I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to continue.


Mark Wigglesworth

I don’t think it is ever naive to stand up for what you believe in. I felt a huge responsibility to try and protect the musicians and the musical qualities of the company. I cannot imagine a music director who cares about his musicians feeling any different.

Defending the musical quality of the organisation is the job. It stands to reason that when you can no longer maintain that defence, you are no longer able to do your job. I have lost the debate, and am incredibly sad about that, both for myself and for what I believe to be the needs of the company. 


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  • So the best way to help the people he felt needed protecting was to leave them to it ? Hmmm not a hint of any sense of ‘déjà vu’ given his previous departure from La Monnaie in Brussels ?

  • If I may hijack this thread to say that I am surprised that Slipped Disc has not made any mention of ENO’s success at the International Opera Awards, unlike (if I recall correctly) ENO Chorus and Orchestra ‘s achievements at the Olivier Awards.

    Come on all: they have won an International Award!! All those who poo-pooed the Oliviers as being only ‘London-centric’ should be jolly pleased that ENO’s troubled chorus is now recognised as being world class!

    Still, I see ENO’s ‘news’ section of their website gives their Chorus some of the praise they deserve…

      • Well, surely you ought to. Your reply seems to suggest that you only report on awards given out at seemingly corrupt competitions, for these appear on the blog with some frequency. If you reply that you also report on legitimate competitions, you are contradicting yourself. The winners of any major and non-fixed awards deserve to the lauded in venues such as this.

    • The Olivier Awards are awards for theatre in London, nowhere else. That’s not pooh-poohing them; it’s just stating a fact. ENO’s awards, whether local, national or international are well-deserved.

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