Breaking: ENO names new artistic director

Breaking: ENO names new artistic director


norman lebrecht

October 08, 2019

As foretold by Slipped Disc two weeks ago, English National Opera has recruited Annilese Miskimmon from Norway National Opera and Ballet as its next artistic director, starting September 2020.

Her tenure is unlikely to be a long one.

Here’s what’s coming out of the Coliseum bunker to the shrinking handful of private supporters.


As you are one of our most valued supporters, I thought that you should be the first to know the very exciting news of our new Artistic Director.

Annilese will be joining us from Den Norske Opera and Ballet/Norwegian National Opera & Ballet where she has been Director of Opera since August 2017. She will remain as Oslo’s Director of Opera until the end of the 19/20 season, officially joining us on 1 September 2020. However, she will start to collaborate on our future seasons from January.

Prior to Oslo, she was General Manager/Artistic Director of Den Jyske Opera/Danish National Opera since 2012 and from 2005 to 2013 was the Artistic Director of Opera Theatre Company Ireland. She is from Bangor, Northern Ireland and studied English Literature at Christ’s College, Cambridge and Arts Management at City University, London. She has worked extensively as a director in many prestigious international opera houses.

Annilese Miskimmon said: ‘I am honoured and delighted to be joining ENO, a company whose consistently ambitious and thrilling work I have loved for all my opera-going life. I can’t wait to join the world-class artistic, music and technical teams at ENO. It has been a great privilege and pleasure to lead Norway’s national opera company over these past 3 years and an equal joy to now join ENO.’

Stuart Murphy, CEO, ENO said: ‘We are absolutely delighted to appoint Annilese as ENO’s new Artistic Director. Annilese understands ENO’s significance as the artistically adventurous, creatively daring national opera house for everyone. Her values of excellence, kindness and impact chime absolutely with ours and she is as committed to broadening out opera as we all are. Annilese has innate artistic flair and a deep knowledge of opera, so her vivid vision for ENO will be welcomed here with open arms.’

Everyone at ENO is absolutely delighted that Annilese is joining the ENO Family, and I look forward to introducing you to her very soon.



  • Norskviol says:

    Wonderful news for ENO. Norway’s loss is their gain!

  • double-sharp says:

    Her first production is to be The Magic Bullet.

  • oldwnitemaleoperalover says:

    Well done ENO. Miskimmon’s international reputation is excellent and the opera community will be delighted to have someone with her professional background in place.

  • Opera Tourist says:

    One wonders why she wishes to move ‘downwards’ as it were! Still, one wishes her luck in this ‘poison chalice’ post. At least she MUST be better than her two predecessors!

    • Nils Angmar says:

      When contract renewals or extensions aren’t offered, one usually has to move, be it up, down or horizontally, regardless of what ones wishes are.

  • WagernFan says:

    This is fantastic news. One woman’s poisoned chalice is another’s love potion!

  • James says:

    First sane decision at ENO in living memory. Ms Miskimmon knows how to run a company, and she’s a fine director too. British opera’s suddenly in a good place, with Aidan Lang, Stephen Langridge, Oliver Mears, Walter Sutcliffe and Ms Miskimmon running our flagship houses (not forgetting Richard Mantle and Christine Chibnall continuing at Opera North, the country’s best house for several years). These are all grown-up, sensible but highly imaginative and competent people a million miles from the self-indulgent attention-seekers we can all name. This was a decision ENO desperately needed to get right. Now all she has to do is control the clownish Chief Exec, and do something about the board (they’ll probably be scared of her). The company certainly has the wherewithal to put on good shows again (it’s not rocket science). Once that happens, maybe the audience will return. It’s a happy day for British opera.

  • Tines says:

    “Shrinking handful of private supporters” ????? Can you provide actual numbers to support this statement???