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ENO formalises Brünjes’ and Pollock’s positions

23 September 2015

Harry Brünjes
Harry Brünjes

Cressida Pollock
Cressida Pollock

English National Opera has appointed Harry Brünjes as chairman and Cressida Pollock as chief executive officer (on a fixed-term three-year contract), effective immediately.

The appointments formalise their previous positions: Brünjes has been acting chairman since 15 February and Pollock was appointed interim CEO on 24 March.

Brünjes, who has been a trustee of the ENO board since 22 September 2010, said: ‘I’m delighted to take on the role of Chairman at such an exciting, transformational time for ENO and the London Coliseum. Working together with the Board and ENO executive team, I look forward to leading a company dedicated to producing the highest quality opera which is accessible to everyone and to securing the future of our iconic building.’

In appointing Pollock to the position of CEO, ENO praised her ‘excellent progress in leading the organisation, bringing additional focus to operations and developing a new strategic business plan for the company’. She joined ENO in September 2014, leading a team from management consultancy McKinsey & Company on a pro bono basis to work on a strategic review of operations of the company.

She said: ‘As we enter this new era, I recognise that we face significant challenges – not least to reduce our reliance on public subsidy. However, I am convinced we can succeed and that, with our world-class team, we can continue to produce brilliant opera for audience members in London and around the UK.’

Joyce Wilson of Arts Council England said: ‘We are pleased that Dr Brünjes has been appointed as Chair of ENO. His experience of being on the board means he is in a very strong position to support ENO going forwards. We have built a good working relationship with both Dr Brünjes and Cressida Pollock and will continue to work closely with them and the wider executive team on the organisation’s strategic development and business plan.’

For the 2015/16 season, ENO’s artistic leadership team will comprise Mark Wigglesworth as Music Director and Terri-Jayne Griffin as Producing Director with John McMurray becoming Senior Artistic Advisor and Bob Holland taking on the role of Programming Director. Former Casting and ENO Harewood Artists Manager Sophie Joyce moves to Head of Casting.

Following artistic director John Berry’s departure in July 2015, the ENO board is undertaking a full evaluation of the company’s artistic leadership. Further announcements will be made in due course.

English National Opera

Paris Opera strike continues

7 September 2015

A message posted on the website of the Opéra de Paris confirmed that tonight's performance of Rameau's Platée will not be going ahead. The cancellation is due to a strike called by the FSU trade union.

'Message to spectators of the performance of Platée 
On Monday 7 September 2015 at 7:30 pm at the Palais Garnier As result of a strike, the performance of Platée scheduled for Monday 7 September 2015 at 7.30 pm at the Palais Garnier has been cancelled. The management of the Paris Opera wishes to apologise to spectators and to propose either a ticket exchange for another performance of the same production, or a refund.'

The opening performance of the 2015/16 season on 5 September - the debut of Robert Wilson's new production of Madama Butterfly - was also cancelled.

Opéra de Paris

Hvorostovsky to perform at the Met

3 September 2015

Dmitri Hvorostovsky
Dmitri HvorostovskyPavel Antonov

Dmitri Hvorostovsky, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor in June, will sing the role of Count di Luna in the opening performances of Verdi's Il Trovatore at the New York Metropolitan Opera (25 and 29 September, and 3 October matinee) before returning to London for further treatment.

The three remaining performances in the run will be performed by Vitaliy Bilyy, who has previously sung the role at the Bavarian State Opera, Toulouse’s Théâtre du Capitol, and the Teatro Municipal in Santiago, Chile. The Ukrainian baritone made his Met debut in 2007 as Denisov in Prokofiev’s War and Peace and has also sung Shaklovity in Mussorgsky’s Khovanshchina with the company.

Marco Armiliato will conduct a cast including Anna Netrebko as Leonora, Dolora Zajick as Azucena, Yonghoon Lee and Antonello Palombi as Manrico, and Štefan Kocán as Ferrando.

Dmitri Hvorostovsky

Opera Now September Issue Out Now!

2 September 2015

American tenor Bryan Hymel describes his steady and fearless ascent to the treacherously high peaks of 19th-century French opera; the earliest-known opera by a woman composer comes to the Brighton Early Music Festival; and Opera Now’s pick of the new season from touring opera in the UK to Macau’s annual festival of music and arts. Plus, the real reasons behind the recent booing at Covent Garden; we visit Gothenburg Opera’s rehearsals for the new Hitchcock-inspired Notorious; an introduction to the Met’s 10th season from general director Peter Gelb; Danish conductor Michael Schønwandt celebrates the operas of Carl Nielsen; WNO music director Carlo Rizzi explores the pathos of Bellini’s I puritani; love, freedom and fate in Bizet’s Carmen; and your chance to WIN three complete operas on DVD starring Bryan Hymel.

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ROH chorus director announces departure

25 August 2015

Renato Balsadonna
Renato BalsadonnaNeil Gillespie

The Italian conductor Renato Balsadonna is to leave the position of chorus director at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden at the end of the 2015/16 season to fully concentrate on his conducting career.

Balsadonna worked as a répétiteur in Italy before becoming assistant chorus master in Basle and later at La Monnaie, Brussels. He was appointed chorus director at La Monnaie in 1997 under Antonio Pappano, before taking up the same position at the Royal Opera House in 2004. He has since prepared the Royal Opera Chorus for all their productions with the Royal Opera Chorus and the Royal Ballet.

Other engagements have included conducting Don Quichotte for Grange Park Opera, assisting Norbert Balatsch at the Bayreuth Festival, and appearances as a guest conductor with Frankfurt Opera Chorus, BBC Singers, Netherlands Radio Choir, the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia Chorus and the Grant Park Festival Chorus, Chicago. He has also made a number of recordings for EMI, Deutsche Grammophon, Warner Classics, Opera Rara and Chandos.

Balsadonna said: 'In recent years, the Royal Opera House, through the generosity of Tony, has supported and nurtured my ambition to develop as a conductor. I will continue living in London, enjoying as a conductor the wonderful music-making of its orchestras and of the Royal Opera House.'

ROH music director Antonio Pappano said: 'Renato is undoubtedly one of the finest chorus directors in the world and has played a key role in the quality of the Royal Opera's performances over the past decade. He's an inspirational colleague who consistently strives for the best and will be very difficult to replace.'

The ROH is inviting applications for the post.

Renato Balsadonna

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