Following the resignation of Music Director Martyn Brabbins, the English National Opera has issued a statement noting it was surprised.
The company said, “The ENO is surprised that Martyn Brabbins has decided to end his tenure as Music Director so abruptly. As a member of the ENO’s senior leadership, Martyn has been party to all key discussions at all stages and the extremely difficult decisions that have to be made by the Board and Management in constrained financial circumstances.”
The statement added, “After nine months of negotiation with Arts Council England, the ENO has reached a position where we are confident we can maintain a substantial level of operatic work – as opposed to the original reality of total redundancy across the entire company (following Art Council England’s previous decision to remove the ENO as a National Portfolio Organisation in November 2022). As recorded in Board minutes, an all-staff meeting and in correspondence with Management and the Board, Martyn agreed that the position reached with Arts Council England in July 2023 provides a workable outcome. As the ENO’s musical leader, we are disappointed that Martyn has chosen to resign rather than support the company by engaging with the process of creating a sustainable future for the ENO.”
The statement comes hours after Brabbins said he could not “in all conscience continue to support the Board and Management’s strategy for the future of the company.” Brabbins resigned after the ENO announced plans to cut 19 musical staff positions and put the remaining staff on part-time contracts.