Rhinegold Publishing

Welsh National Opera General Director to step down

9:45, 12th February 2013

John Fisher, the Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Welsh National Opera (WNO), has announced that he will step down from his post next summer. The 60-year-old Scotsman has been at the helm of WNO since 2006, following ten years as the Director of Music Administration at New York’s Metropolitan Opera.

In a statement to the media, Fisher said: “It has been a privilege to lead WNO over the last five years, and I am very proud of what we have been able to achieve. It is a wonderful company that is a great asset for Wales and the world of opera. In the next few years WNO will face very significant challenges, but I am confident that when I leave next summer the company will be in the hands of a very strong and accomplished team.”

WNO Chairman, Geraint Talfan Davies, praised Fisher’s “enormous contribution to the development of the company through raising its musical and vocal standards to the highest level, and attracting to WNO the very best talent.” He added: “We are hugely grateful to him for all that he has achieved.”

Fisher’s decision comes in the wake of funding cuts for Welsh arts organisations by the Arts Council of Wales (ACW).

Although ACW has signalled a continuing commitment to supporting WNO, the company was recently criticised after holding a lavish first night reception for Die Meistersinger in the same week that funding to 32 organisations was stopped.

Last year, WNO received £4.5 million from ACW’s total budget of £24 million, but further cuts are predicted when the Welsh assembly meets in December to determine ACW’s budget for 2011.

Reflecting this uncertainty, WNO Chairman Davies urged the company “to do everything we can in the challenging climate ahead to sustain the standards that [John] has set.”

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