ENO Appoints Perth Festival's Doran as New ChiefDate: 13 February 2003
The troubled English National Opera (ENO) has appointed Australia-based Sean Doran as its new artistic director. He'll take over from April 2003, leading a new management structure alongside music director Paul Daniel, executive director (a role currently filled by Caroline Fenton) and a production director.
Speaking from Australia's Perth Festival, of which he's been director since 1999, Doran said: "For many of us in the arts worldwide, ENO has always stood as one of the very finest arts companies of our time. The ENO values of quality, innovation and accessibility I admire and share. Opera has been a lifelong passion of mine, so I acknowledge a great sense of privilege in being invited to take part in the shaping of a new and positive future for this company."
Prior to his job at Perth, the Irish-born Doran was previously artistic director of the Belfast Festival and CEO of the UK Year of Literature and Writing. Early in his career, his opera experience was developed as artistic director of the London-based music theatre ensemble Innererklang.
At ENO, Doran will have his work cut out for him. The company has recently been subjected to an Arts Council "stabilisation process" to guard against its estimated £1.2 million-plus deficit and stave off further redundancies, following highly vocal protests from the company's threatened choristers (See News, 23 Jan 2003).
Circumstances at ENO have been steadily worsening since summer 2002. Executive director Nicholas Payne resigned in early July, after little more than a year in the job. Two weeks later, industry newspaper The Stage prompted further intense speculation when it reported that the company was considering a massive downsizing, to include shutting down for 16 months, making hundreds of staff redundancies and setting up as a part-time only company (See The Goss, 25 Jul 2002).
Major refurbishment, costing in the region of £41 million, has already begun on ENO's home, the London Coliseum, which will close in the second half of this year and will not reopen until at least the first quarter of 2004.
- by Terri Paddock