14 Dec 2005
Divas and dabblers — The lesson of the crisis in English opera is that we have to overhaul how the arts are governed
Raphaela Papadakis seems to like ‘playing with fire’. After her acclaimed performance as the put-upon maid, Anna, in Independent Opera’s production of Šimon Voseček’s Beidermann and the Arsonists at Sadler’s Wells last year, she is currently rehearsing for the premiere this week of And London Burned, a new opera by Matt Rogers which has been commissioned by Temple Music Foundation to commemorate the 350th anniversary of The Great Fire of London.
Charlotte Higgins [The Guardian, 14 December 2005]
If Martin Smith, chairman of English National Opera, survives the week in his post, it will be a miracle. The opera company, once more famous for theatrical invention and fearlessness than for cock-ups, is in meltdown. The sacking of artistic director Seán Doran two weeks ago can only mean that the rumours which have been wafting out of the London Coliseum about financial troubles (despite an £11m Arts Council England bailout in 2003) are true. The council has condemned the coronation of Doran's successors - tantamount to a withdrawal of support from Smith. He, meanwhile, has self-deludingly posted a letter on the ENO website about the company's "genuine and very exciting renaissance". The words Nero, fiddling and Rome spring to mind.