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ENO announces recipients of Charles Mackerras fellowship

26 January 2016

Conductors Toby Purser and Matthew Waldren have been appointed as joint recipients of the English National Opera Charles Mackerras fellowship.

This is the first time the award will be shared by two conductors, who will take up the two-year positions in September 2016.

Purser and Waldren will have the opportunity to assist on ENO productions and will have full access to the casting, staging and production departments. They will receive mentoring from music director Mark Wigglesworth, with whom they will be able to travel in order to make contacts across the operatic world.

'The panel was unanimous that both Matthew Waldren and Toby Purser revealed the right combination of potential and skill to benefit from this amazing opportunity,' said Wigglesworth, 'And so sharing the Fellowship was the inevitable and exciting outcome of this year's audition process. I look forward to welcoming these two exceptional talents to English National Opera.'

By the end of his tenure, current fellow Fergus Macleod will have assisted on eight productions. He said: 'My time at ENO has been invaluable. It is a truly incredible place to work. The support and guidance I have received, not only from Mark and Ed but from the whole company, will guide me for many years to come.

'I hope that Matthew and Toby find the scheme as beneficial as I have and wish them all the very best for their time at such a special company.'

Purser assisted on the world premiere of Julian Anderson's Thebans for ENO in 2014, and made his company conducting debut with two performances of The Marriage of Figaro later that year. He regularly conducts at Grange Park Opera and has performed at the Buxton Festival. He is founder and conductor of the Orion Orchestra.

Waldren was appointed music director of the inaugural Christine Collins young artist scheme at Opera Holland Park in 2012, where he recently conducted Lakmé and Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Recent engagements include Alice's Adventures in Wonderland at the Royal Opera House and assisting Xian Zhang on ENO's La bohème in 2015.

The ENO Charles Mackerras fellowship marks the legacy of the company's music director between 1970 and 1977. The scheme was launched in 2012, with Gergely Madaras the inaugural fellow.

ENO Charles Mackerras fellowship

ENO responds to rumours over cutting its chorus

21 January 2016

English National Opera (ENO) has responded to reports that it is to cut its chorus members’ contracts.

Norman Lebrecht’s Slipped Disc blog states that the company has been told of plans to cut chorus members’ contracts to 75%, and that they will be out of work from May to August. The news also features in today’s Independent.

A spokesperson said: ‘We have to be able to operate with significantly reduced funding. As a consequence, we need to look at developing a more flexible way of working while maintaining our artistic integrity. We are unable to comment on specific arrangements, as we are currently in the early stages of negotiations with unions.’

A representative of the Musicians’ Union confirmed that it is engaged in a dialogue with the ENO management, but that there is nothing to comment on as yet.

The issue made national news last month when a number of figures from the opera world wrote a letter to the Times to express their concern that the chorus would be eliminated.

ENO has been under financial pressure since Arts Council England (ACE) announced that it would not be admitted into its national portfolio of organisations for 2015-18 in February 2015.

ACE announced in November 2015 that it would extend funding until 2018, but the company would remain under special monitoring arrangements.

It noted that ENO had made good progress in improving its operations, but still has further work to do to ensure its future sustainability.

ROH to introduce e-ticket service

19 January 2016

A Royal Opera House e-ticket
A Royal Opera House e-ticketROH, 2016

The Royal Opera House is introducing an e-ticket system for those making online ticket purchases.

The decision follows a survey in which a high proportion of those questioned said that they value the convenience offered by e-ticketing.

The e-ticket will replace the online option to collect tickets from the box office, and will become the standard option for international customers, students and those buying tickets within a few days of the performance.

The roll-out of the e-ticket system began on 18 January with those purchasing for the dedicated student performance of Frankenstein, and will be available to all customers buying summer season tickets from 16 February. The option will initially only be available online.

E-tickets can be displayed on a mobile device or printed. They will be made available through a link in the order confirmation email and sent directly as a reminder shortly before the performance. They can also be accessed from the 'Upcoming events' section of the website.

Applications open for the Rhinegold Charity Fund

18 January 2016

Charities operating within the music sector are invited to submit their applications for the Rhinegold Charity Fund 2016/17.

The successful charity will receive £10,000 to spend on advertising across Rhinegold's portfolio of classical music publications, websites and services.

They will also receive account management support on aspects of marketing and design from Rhinegold.

The scheme supports the work of charities that might not have the resources necessary to support a large advertising campaign on their own, giving them the opportunity to promote their cause to a large international readership.

Since its launch in 2013, the number of applications to the fund has doubled annually. The 2015 fund was awarded to two charities: Young Classical Artists Trust and Live Music Now.

Charities wishing to apply should complete the online form by 29 February, with the selected charity to be announced in March.

Rhinegold Charity Fund

Knight Foundation invests $2.5m in Opera Philadelphia's O festival

14 January 2016

O will feature seven operatic 'happenings' in six venues across Philadelphia, including contemporary American opera and new stagings of classics. The 12-day event will open Opera Philadelphia's season each fall.

The investment will support Opera Philadelphia's artistic planning and development, the creation of a new guest services centre, increased national marketing, and the festival launch in 2017.

The inaugural festival, O17, will take place from 14-25 September 2017, offering more than 25 performances at multiple venues across Philadelphia.

It will feature the world premieres of Kevin Puts' Elizabeth Cree (librettist Mark Campbell) and Daniel Bernard Roumain's We Shall Not Be Moved (librettist Marc Bamuthi Joseph), as well as another work commissioned to interact with the collection of the Barnes Foundation.

A site-specific double bill will pair Monteverdi's Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda with Lembit Beecher's I Have No Stories To Tell You (librettist Hannah Moscovitch).

Barrie Kosky's production of Mozart's The Magic Flute will take place in the Academy of Music, with a free HD video broadcast at Independence National Historical Park.

Inaugural festival artist Sondra Radvanovsky will give a solo recital in the Perelman Theater and conduct a masterclass with emerging artists.

'With this groundbreaking festival, Opera Philadelphia has the opportunity to re-envision the discipline, curate a series relevant to today’s audiences and demonstrate that opera is an accessible, vibrant, multidimensional art form reflective of our lives,' said Victoria Rogers, vice president for arts at Knight Foundation. 'We’re looking forward to seeing the results, not just for Opera Philadelphia, but also for companies around the country.'

Opera Philadelphia has staged a number of events in the city's public spaces in recent years, including pop-up Random Acts of Culture and the annual Opera on the Mall event broadcast.

Knight Foundation supports projects which engage communities and foster the arts.

Opera Philadelphia Festival

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