Breaking: ENO abandons northern plan

Breaking: ENO abandons northern plan


norman lebrecht

April 13, 2017

English National Opera has just scrapped its plan for a residency in Blackpool. 

Here’s the official version:

As you are aware, we have been in discussions with Blackpool Council and with the Winter Gardens to confirm new dates for ENO’s postponed performances of The Mikado. We have discussed a number of different options and all parties have worked hard to try to confirm a feasible date and budget for these performances.  

The Arts Council have recently shared with us their serious concerns regarding future levels of arts funding available to local authorities. Given that this project was to be underwritten by funding from Blackpool Council, in the current economic climate we consider that it is unwise for us to continue to develop this project. We are therefore no longer working on presenting The Mikado to Blackpool in 2017/18.

Instead, we are investigating alternative partnerships for our summer work that can make the best use of our resources, and that continue to share more of our opera with the widest possible audience. We look forward to announcing our projects for Summer ’18 and several new partnerships which will present ENO to new audiences going forward.

ENO are not having much luck at the moment.

© Chris Christodoulou/Lebrecht Music&Arts


  • Cynical Bystander says:

    So the Arts Council have effectively given ENO an opportunity to get out of something that was a disaster in the making. Pointing out that Blackpool is hardly in a position to underwrite such a foolhardy piece of at best regional tokenism is little more than stating the bl**din obvious.

    What is worrying in the wider context is the statement that ACE are sharing…

    “their serious concerns regarding future levels of arts funding available to local authorities”

    So, after the bulk of ACE funding has gone to London based companies the rest of us in the regions are effectively on our own?

    ENO’s some might say cynical and never to happen foray into the ‘provinces’ has shown yet again the contempt the London based Arts Establishment hold those of us who pay towards the subsidy of organisations we are denied access to.

    Few thought that this would happen and all those involved should be apologising to ETO and the audience in Blackpool.

    • Allen says:

      “the rest of us in the regions are effectively on our own?”


      “At £4.09 per attendance, ACE subsidy is lowest in London out of all the English regions. This compares to £11.40 per attendance in the Midlands, which has the highest rate of subsidy. The calculation excludes the four big NPOs in the capital. If these are included, the rate is £6.15 which is still the second lowest in the country.” (London Councils Member briefing, February 2014)

      Perhaps you should be directing your criticism at the Midlands.

      • Operafan says:

        The Midlands figure is completely distorted as it includes (inexplicably) Welsh National Opera – one of ACE’s highest-funded organisations – which is actually based in… Wales

  • John Groves says:

    Yes, but WNO does a great deal of excellent touring in England with consistently high standards and imaginative programming. The Arts Council needs to give much more funding to ETO ( and WNO, ON and Scottish Opera) so that these companies can take more opera to the regions – as Sadler’s Wells used to many moons ago before the company got delusions of grandeur and profligate spending!!! ENO should concentrate on staging high quality opera at the Coliseum, much as I loathe the theatre, rather than throwing money at Trial by Jury (yes – look at the website!), Dream of Gerontius (it’s not an opera – poor Elgar), and imports of American music theatre at Hackney – ENO should leave Hackney alone and let ETO use it as its permanent London base! There, that’s my rant for this morning!

  • jimmt says:

    Maybe the ENO should be renamed the London national Opera?

  • Saxon Broken says:

    Criticising London as a location is silly. Not only does 20 percent of the population of England live within London itself, but it is also the centre of our transport network, meaning there is an enormous population within one hour of central London. (Over half the population of England). If the spending was also attributed to anyone within this one-hour zone then any reasonable person would believe too little was being spent there. Where else in Britain can funding have such a large impact on so many people at such low cost?

    • John Purbeck says:

      What a shame that ENO seem to have abandoned live relays to cinemas. These enabled taxpayers (and others) to get something in return for the subsidy that the company receives.