Cher Public

“And I presume you know what that unfortunate movement led to?”

“Meanwhile top-flight native talents such as Lucy Crowe, Mary Bevan, Allan Clayton and Anthony Gregory are shunted into revivals of The Magic Flute and The Mikado, and potential stars such as Marcus Farnsworth and Elizabeth Llewellyn don’t even get a look in. One doesn’t need to be a UKIP xenophobe or Little Englander to feel that this is wrong, wrong, wrong and a betrayal of the spirit of ENO’s Founding Fathers.” [The Telegraph]

  • steveac10

    Someone should inform Rupert that the ENO has to import directors because the Commonwealth directors are all otherwise engaged at the Met.

  • phoenix

    Is Rupert revving up for a run as British High Commissioner on arts and culture?

  • a betrayal of the spirit of ENO’s Founding Fathers.

    “Founding Fathers”.

    Per Wikipedia: “The company’s origins were in the late 19th century, when the philanthropist Emma Cons, later assisted by her niece Lilian Baylis, presented theatrical and operatic performances at the Old Vic in a rough area of London for the benefit of local people. From those beginnings, Baylis built up both the opera and the theatre companies, and later added a ballet company; these evolved into the ENO, the Royal National Theatre and The Royal Ballet.

    Baylis acquired and rebuilt Sadler’s Wells theatre in north London, a larger house, better suited to opera than the Old Vic. The opera company grew there into a permanent ensemble in the 1930s. “

    • Cicciabella

      Just a little Rupertsian sexism then, to garnish the jingoism. Nothing too serious.

  • armerjacquino

    Yep. Daft and ludicrously overstated. God save us from ALL the people whose first reaction on reading a cast list is to check birth certificates.

  • john

    I’m all for promoting local talent, but Rupert seems to have forgotten that British educational institutions are already full of foreigners. Does he really think that casting principal roles with Brits would change ENO’s fortunes anyway? Who exactly could sing these roles if they were cast with British singers? I think ENO are being quite sensible by looking to snap up top international talent before they hit the big time.

    • armerjacquino

      After her spectacular Violetta, Winters was an obvious rebooking. And despite some less-than-brilliant recent performances, Racette is still a star, and one who has a good relationship with the house.

      There are other singers on the list I’m not familiar with, but I might adopt the dangerously controversial stance of hearing them sing before I decide what I think of them.

    • manou

      “In a new season in which 88 per cent of the singers and conductors are either British, British trained or British resident, the 12 per cent who are not have attracted rather a lot of attention. Putting aside the reasons for which some people might consider this such a bad thing (mainly because I’m not sure what they are) I’m more curious about the match of operatic repertoire with the sort of voices that might be booked to sing in it, and how those voices come into being in the first place.”

      • john


  • liza Hope this hasn’t been posted before but I think it’s a better discussion of the issue.

  • 98rsd

    Not even in England is Marcus Farnsworth a “potential star”. His (bafflingly) winning performances in the Wigmore Song Competition were painful.

  • Cocky Kurwenal

    I’m thrilled that ENO has become so good at getting on board with major new talent from North America -- to have the opportunity to hear Leah Crocetto, Corinne Winters, Angel Blue, Heidi Melton, Tamara Wilson and Marjorie Owens across a couple of seasons is fantastic. They seem much better at this sort of thing than the ROH. We’re only missing Angela Meade (who will at least be in a prom this summer) and Layla Claire (at least she’s been at Glyndebourne). When will the ROH catch up? I gather Winters has a scheduled debut, and I guess we also have Jamie Barton in 15/16, so that’s something.

    Incidentally, Elizabeth Llewellyn struck me as a particularly silly example from Rupert -- of the 11 announced operas at ENO in 15/16, she only has roles from 2 of them in her repertoire -- Mimi and First Lady. She’s probably a bit beyond First Lady for ENO, and only a fool would complain about having Winters for Mimi. Plus it’s quite possible she was busy/doesn’t want to do stuff in translation and has turned work down at ENO.

  • PushedUpMezzo

    Well -- if this has spurred your enthusiasm, there are a few places left on this holiday of a lifetime,-with-rupert-christiansen-ced51a58cc7de222e9cd1ac0607ef2d9/

    Please note that “Rupert Christiansen will talk about the music and lead discussions throughout the tour”.