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
On April 12, 2014, Arizona Opera opened its series of performances of Donizetti's Don Pasquale in Tucson. Chuck Hudson’s production of this opera combined Commedia dell’arte with Hollywood movie history.
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.