The English National Opera's hopes for a new start after financial troubles were shattered yesterday when it had to cancel its reopening at the renovated London Coliseum.
Continuing problems with the £41m refurbishment mean the building will not be ready for the performance of Nixon in China on 21 February. This revival of a previous English National Opera (ENO) hit will now be abandoned at a cost of more than £280,000. The problems will affect the company's staging of Wagner's Ring cycle, the first in English for 30 years. The first part, The Rhinegold, was due to begin on 23 February.
Everything had gone to plan for most of the four-year restoration and a glitch-free re-opening would have put the ENO on a more positive footing. An emergency Arts Council bail-out stopped the company going bust last year. Paul Baker, project manager for the restorers, Gardiner Theobald, said he hoped to confirm a new opening date by next week.
Sean Doran, the ENO's artistic director and chief executive, said: "The company as a whole shares a feeling of frustration and upset at being thwarted so very near to completion of the restoration."
The renovation of the building in time for its 100th birthday in December, has otherwise remained within budget.