In a Guardian interview, the ROH director Oliver Mears admits he has rowed back on some of his predecessor’s more quackpot plans.
In 2013, (Kasper) Holten had announced to great fanfare four new commissions “inspired by the writings of philosopher Slavoj Žižek”. These new operas – by Kaija Saariaho, Jörg Widmann, Luca Francesconi and Mark-Anthony Turnage – were supposed to “challenge opera writers to write about their fears and hopes for the world now”, and the outgoing ROH chief executive Tony Hall said they would be staged by 2020. Oddly, they have never been heard of again, and there is no sign of them being programmed. I ask Mears what happened. “Two have fallen by the wayside for different reasons,” he says. “The other two – by Turnage and Saariaho – are still in our long-term schedules.”
And here we were queuing up, all ready with our pocket Zizeks.
Mears goes on to say the company cannot afford more than one new opera a year.