English National Opera's efforts to balance its books have claimed their first material casualty with the company's announcement that it is withdrawing from a planned collaboration with Bristol Old Vic on what was set to be an exciting staging of Monteverdi's Orfeo next April, to be directed by Tom Morris.
BOV's artistic director (and co-director with Marianne Elliott of the National Theatre's War Horse), Morris previously directed John Adams's controversial opera The Death of Klinghoffer for ENO, a production that recently transferred to New York's Metropolitan Opera amid gales of publicity.
His take on what is the earliest opera still to hold a place in the standard repertoire was keenly awaited — as was the prospect of the London-based 'national' company's first foray outside the capital in many years.
ENO's artistic director John Berry made the following announcement this morning.
"I'm very sorry to say that we are withdrawing from our planned April 2015 co-production of Orfeo with Bristol Old Vic. The production has been postponed while Bristol Old Vic seeks new partners.
"The decision to withdraw from the production was made in the interests of achieving a balanced budget for the 2015/16 financial year, given the challenging funding situation from April 2015. Maintaining a stable financial position is crucial to the company's future and the ENO Board and management agreed that we must reassess our artistic ambitions and align them with the funds available.
"It was a difficult decision because showcasing our young talent to audiences in the South West, in such a beautiful and historic theatre, in partnership with a close and valued collaborator like Tom Morris, was something we very much wanted to do. Everyone involved in the production is disappointed that ENO will not be performing in Bristol next year and we hope that we'll be able to work with Bristol Old Vic in the future.
"Any customers who have purchased tickets through the Bristol Old Vic box office will be able to transfer them to other shows within Bristol Old Vic's programme, hold them as credit against a future production of Orfeo at Bristol Old Vic, or receive a full refund. Bristol Old Vic box office will be contacting all ticket holders in the coming week."
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