What a banker thinks English National Opera should do

Norman Lebrecht

November 14, 2022

Huw van Steenis is Senior Advisor to the Chief Executive of UBS. Previously, he was a senior adviser to Mark Carney when he was Governor of the Bank of England. He is also a director of ENO.

In an op-ed in The Times today, he attacks the former Arts Council’s London plan for the venture. Less positively, it offers no alternative.

It starts:
What do you do when all the energy you’ve invested in performance for many years is suddenly threatened? That’s how the incredible singers, musicians and technicians of English National Opera feel. They were told they only had 20 weeks left at the Coliseum in London.

And ends:
Audiences, artists, musicians and technicians deserve better. The government and the Arts Council need to think again and do a proper analysis of opera and audiences across the country – and show how it works, because it seems arbitrary. Opera is the embodiment of an essential human instinct: to tell stories through music. Comedies, stories and tragedies. ENO wants to keep telling everyone.

And that’s all?

Here is a photo, perhaps more effective, of today’s pro-ENO demo.