Letter: Threat to the ENO

Share
Sir: I served as the honorary secretary of the board of directors of the English National Opera in the 1980s, and for a short period as a member of the board. I am well aware of the financial and other considerations that have led the Culture Secretary to propose the merging of the Royal Opera and the ENO at the redeveloped Royal Opera House.

However, I have no doubt that this would quickly destroy the ENO's distinct identity. As a third company sharing the new Covent Garden Theatre it would be impossible for it to maintain the audience and the mission that it has so successfully developed at the Coliseum.

This mission is both artistic and social. The artistic one is to present opera in a stimulating form in the language that its audience can understand. The social one is to make opera available at reasonable prices (the top price at the Coliseum has been held at barely 25 per cent of the top prices at the Royal Opera House) to as wide an audience as possible. Inevitably, because of the costs of touring, this has been mainly an audience from London and surrounding areas. But anyone who has regularly attended the Coliseum, or has taken part in the educational and community activities of its Bayliss Programme, can endorse what I say. I still have vivid memories, for example, of the rows of school children from Hackney, attending an opera performance for the first time, who sat enthralled during the hypnotic performances of Akhnaten.

It would be a tragedy to sacrifice these achievements by effectively abolishing the ENO as a distinct opera company. I very much hope, therefore, that before any final recommendations are made, Sir Richard Eyre, despite the very difficult financial issues involved, will consider every possible means of preserving the ENO (in my view, preferably still at the Coliseum site) as a separate entity.

Sir BRIAN UNWIN

Luxembourg

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
More From
Sir Brian Unwin
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Energy Markets Analyst

£400000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Energy Markets An...

Junior Web Analyst – West Sussex – Up to £35k DOE

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

Nursery Manager

£22000 - £23000 per annum: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recrui...

Web Analyst – Permanent – Up to £40k - London

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Personal Finance Editor: Cutting out the middle man could spell disaster for employees and consumers alike

Simon Read
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch  

Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes tell you what to think. Don't let them

Memphis Barker
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week