Offstage drama at English National Opera

Mark ShentonNews of the day1 Comment


john-berrySo now we know the real reason for the recent departure of English National Opera’s chairman Martyn Rose. In a (previously private) letter that he sent to ENO’s President and whose contents have now been revealed by the Sunday Times today,  Rose expressed strong doubts about artistic director John Berry’s leadership of the company.

“For the very survival of the ENO, Berry must leave, preferably soon,” he wrote. “Let me be clear — John is in my mind the problem not the solution and no meaningful change will ever take place whilst he remains. Time is of the essence. We cannot wait any longer.”

According to the report, Berry and his executive director Henriette Götz, the latter of whom joined last April, fell out almost immediately. “Sources say they no longer talk and describe Berry as charming but ruthless with opponents. The board is split in support for Berry and Götz.” In his letter to the chairman, Rose wrote, “I know now you share with me the truly appalling state that exists . . . I have no hesitation in blaming John Berry for operating a very skilful campaign to render our executive director unable to carry out her duties.”

Yikes — there’s more backstabbing backstage at the opera than drama onstage.