Singers at the Royal Opera House have shown their support for members of the chorus at the English National Opera this week, following announcements of planned pay and spending cuts by ENO bosses.
In 2014, the English National Opera learnt that their funding from the arts council was being cut by around 29% (roughly £5m), and as a response, bosses at the ENO have had to find cutbacks across the company. Measures include some redundancies and a pay cut equating to almost 25%, which reflects a reduction of work at their base at London’s Coliseum.
Responding to the cuts and showing signs of solidarity for their colleagues in the ENO Chorus, members of the Royal Opera House have written a letter to the ENO expressing their concerns and describing the planned cuts as “extreme”. The letter, published in the Guardian earlier this month, goes on to say the ENO and it’s “loyal audience” “deserve better” than what they describe as what would amount to a “part-time, inexperienced company”.
The funding cuts from Arts Council England come after years of financial instability at the ENO and an order for its business model to be rethought. Its Chief Executive, Darren Henley, wrote in the Guardian that, as “stewards of public money”, Arts Council England cannot continue to ignore the ENO’s track record when it comes to bailing out the ENO with continued funding, regardless of its “clear signs of improvement”.
Actors Union Equity announced earlier this month that members of the Chorus will vote on industrial action on the matter.
The English National Opera is due to stage several performances of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte next month – for more details and to book tickets, visit their website.