ENO chairman: London or bust


Slipped Disc’s Norman Lebrecht reports that Harry Brünjes, chairman of the English National Opera, said the company will shut down in April rather than move from London to Manchester, a condition that Arts Council England set for continued support.

“There is a lot of discussion around relocation to Manchester, and we have got to flatten that immediately,” Brünjes told British parliamentarians. “There is no relocation. This is closing ENO down. This is losing 600 jobs from London of talented and devoted and able people across all departments.”

ENO latest: Chairman says company will close in April

Arts Council England, whose grants budget comes from government appropriations and proceeds from the Britain’s National Lottery, followed government guidance to redirect money from London to locations elsewhere in the country. The ENO stands to lose £12.6 million (about $14.2 million) if it stays in London.

UPDATE (Nov. 19): From an editorial on the arts council’s funding decisions in The Guardian: “The task of keeping culture alive in embattled times rests on a delicate balancing act: [I]t needs to enrich lives and entertain, but also to contribute to the economy by creating jobs, attracting tourists and generating money for other businesses. Laudable though the new priorities may be in many ways, there is a danger that, in solving one problem, they will create others – the emasculation of institutions, the dispersal of creative communities – that will become irreparable, and not just in London.”

More on this subject in a Nov. 5 post: https://letterv.blog/2022/11/05/leveling-up-uk-arts-grants-hit-london/