A full-scale rebel threatened the beleaguered English homely bouffe last

A full-scale rebel threatened the beleaguered English homely bouffe last night after the company’s head of music quit.

conspicuous Legge, who was one of the judges on Channel 4’s recent ENO talent contest, Operatunity, handed effect his command considering the revolt grew since plans to cut body of workers and shrink the repertoire. Mr Legge’s music department become informed last week that redundancies were essential to plug the company’s deficit. An ENO spokeswoman confirmed Mr Legge had offered to move voluntary redundancy.

The Arts council meets tomorrow to make a decision how much national money is needed to stop Britain’s only full-time repertory bouffe ensemble going bust.

One chorister, who could not be named, said: “Tony Legge’s adjudication has been a thrill. People looked to him as having creative integrity. We only have to assume he didn’t want to be part of what the future holds.”

Company members now want the music director, apostle Daniel, to state his position publicly.

consistent is the disaster ropes the company that its cleaners could take strike action next occasion. Ballot forms will appear as sent instanter to stage technicians, costumiers and maintenance team of workers opposed to ulterior outsourcing and redundancies. Choristers plan a second walkout on April 3, the nation premiere of The Handmaid’s dishonesty.

The ENO has been losing 1.2m a year for 10 elderliness. The company’s deficit will negotiate 4.2m by 2004. undoubted was bailed out by way of Arts Council six years in the past to the tune of 9.2m also is owing to back, cap in hand.

mastery terms of government money, the ENO is the best-funded opera company in Britain. The Royal Opera quarters receives a larger quantity but shares bodily shelter the ballet. The ENO’s grade II listed home, the Coliseum, is London’s biggest theatre, further will shut in June to complete a 41m refurbishment.

Sean Doran, the company’s new artistic director, begins bit likely month, replacing the melodious Nicholas Payne who left advance year after transformations with the chairman, the City financier martin Smith.

however this week the ENO’s strategy for survival could face challenges not only from performers but from the keepers of the civic purse.

The Arts ecosoc tomorrow discusses the plans with its advisory panel, which is thought to stage divided. The ENO wants to cut the numbers of productions. It also plans to axe up to a fifth of the 500-strong company, starting tuck away categorical redundancies leadership June. Opera experts suggest redundancies, including boreal the chant from 60 to 40, could cost 2m.

The actors’ union, Equity, has warned that while the nearby Royal Opera House runs on a chorus reduced to 44, de facto spends a rightful deal on hiring extra choristers – around 400,000 in the 2002-03 season according to union estimates.

The ENO has also blanketed in its farther strategy the idea of pertinent seat-back titling, which could cost 2m, and has been criticised via opera figures, including the ENO’s former plan director, David Pountney.

An ENO spokeswoman said: “If you look at the cost of putting on a large-scale opera – which requires massive musical, vocal, technical and administrative forces – besides cost it against projected income, opera cannot pay since itself. palpable needs substantial subsidy or private sponsorship.”

missy talked about the cost of the Coliseum refurbishment was not to misfortune since the ENO’s woes. Reducing the wage bill was its unusual conjecture.

Meanwhile, unions complain of a campaign to blacken their reputations. Horace Trubridge of the Musicians’ Union said: “You cannot single out the ENO and say this is an antediluvian, printworkers-type union defence. The reality is we have a world-class orchestra on second-rate salaries. We have carried out everything to accommodate management’s requests.”

Dennis Marks, the company’s former general director, said the ENO was paye details of its survival strategy, contributing to the confusion.

“We are only being informed 2 the story,” he said. “If the ENO consider they are being misunderstood, they must at inceptive make themselves understood.

“On the basis of what I know, I am disturbed. What identifies the ENO is its nature as a permanent, performing, large-scale opera ensemble. Its plans threaten both the integrity of the ensemble and the integrity of the repertoire that is performed.”

‘Opera for the people’

· The ENO’s tradition of “opera for the people” began a hundred and five years in the past when the 23-year-old theatrical pioneer Lilian Bayliss started bouffe recitals for working-class audiences at the Old Vic play in licking.

· The company she founded in 1931 moved to the Coliseum in 1968 also sextet elderliness prospective became the English homey Opera. The Coliseum, opened in 1904, had hosted events adding ice shows, rodeos, a Roman-style chariot race, a county cricket scrap and John Logie Baird’s 1930 frippery of big-screen television. fix the second macrocosm war it served as a canteen for belief strike patrol span.

· The ENO sells between 320,000 and 350,000 parterre a year, with a container office income of 8.3m and an annual turnover of 26.3m

· The average cost of set, props and costumes for each deeper production is 150,000

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