English National Opera: the Soap Opera

By Hazel Last edited 157 months ago
English National Opera: the Soap Opera

Opera has become soap opera with the latest episode of uproar, dissent and... umm... angry letters to the board of directors of the English National Opera about the conduct of Martin Smith, the Chairman . Here's a quick recap before tonight's latest episode of ENO-Enders...

Two weeks ago on ENO-Enders:

Chairman Smith: Oi you, beat it.

Artistic Director of ENO Sean Doran: Who, me? Can't I finish doing whatever Artistic Directors do at the opera before I go?

Chairman Smith: No. Get lost. There's the door.

Artistic Director of ENO Sean Doran: But... but Martin, you hired me after you fired former Artistic Director Nicholas Payne in 2002 even though I know nothing about opera! You wanted me by your side! You argued and defended the fact you chose me and everyone said it was a terrible mistake for you to get rid of the far better qualified Nick! How can you get rid of me now and be so cruel?

Chairman Smith: Wot you talking abaht? Don't you forget who's the boss around 'ere. You've always known what the deal is with me - I can give you Artistic Director of a leading international arts institution and I can take it away from you. Today, I am taking it away from you. [throws a sobbing Sean onto the cold marble Coliseum steps]

Arts commentators: Oooh! You shouldn't have done that Martin... that's going to really piss off people in the arts who think you've cocked up your time as Chairman - haven't you heard of their allegations of arrogance, bullying and "damaging leadership."

Chairman Smith: Shut up. You're like the audience at Glastonbury 2004 to whom ENO performed to and the statement I made then about them: "you dont' even know how to spell opera!" Shove off and leave me alone - I'm boss. I'm CHAIRMAN.

Tonight on ENO-ENDERS:

Having grown tired of Chairman Smith's behaviour, ten local eminent figures in the arts world get together to write an angry letter to the ENO Board of Directors. Writer Jeanette Winterson, former ENO boss David Pountney and broadcaster Libby Purves amongst others all put pen to paper to make it clear that they don't like the way he is hiring replacements for Sean Doran without holding any interviews or considering other candidates. As they write the letter, the group begin to suspect that Doran was sacked because of increasing financial problems for ENO.

Meanwhile, Ian runs out of normal coffee in the ENO cafe and has to secretly use decaffeinated beans, with hilarious results. Sonia is heartbroken to hear she failed to get into the chorus for the Mikado and undergoes a radical makeover to cheer herself up with help from the girls in Madam Butterfly and Dot smokes a fag and gurns a bit in the dressing rooms.

Last Updated 16 December 2005