English National Opera to Receive Funding from Arts Council England

By Francisco Salazar

The English National Opera has announced that it will receive funding from the Arts Council England following negotiations and months of protest.

The company said, “the English National Opera are pleased to confirm that, following negotiations with Arts Council England, the organization is to receive £11.46m of National Lottery funding for the next financial year, starting 1st April 2023. This represents a 9 percent cut from the ENO’s previous funding.”

It added, “the delay in confirming our financial status has meant that our plans for the season ahead will inevitably have to change, including the postponement of a number of new productions as well as our current Ring Cycle, in partnership with the Met, which was due to continue with a new production of ‘Siegfried next season. However, this level of funding will allow us to honor many of the contracts of the hundreds of freelancers we hire every year, and enable us to continue to make incredible opera available for everyone, in English, with hugely subsidised tickets. It will also allow us to continue the award-winning ENO Breathe, available via 85 NHS Trusts, and ‘Finish This’, available in over 200 schools across the country.”

The ENO concluded, “we do remain concerned that this only gives audiences and our workforce one year’s reprieve, and still leaves a huge amount of uncertainty regarding the ENO’s future. For the ENO to meaningfully deliver on the Government’s levelling-up agenda, ACE needs to invest in the organisation at an appropriate level going forward. This has to be done in the context of ACE developing an opera strategy, in conversations with audiences and our colleagues across the industry – something that is still yet to be undertaken by ACE.”

“The ENO and our audiences remain in the dark as to why ACE decided to remove our status as a National Portfolio Organisation, despite us meeting or exceeding all the criteria they set: one in seven of our audience are under 35, one in five of our principal performers are ethnically diverse and over 50 percent of our audience are brand new to opera. We have been bringing opera to people nationally via multiple completely free broadcasts, in innovative ways such as car parks via drive-in opera and over TikTok, as well as in more traditional settings, and over 50 percent of visitors to opera at the Coliseum are from out of London.”

The news comes months after the ACE announced it was cutting funding from the ENO in order to fund projects out of London. The move sparked protests and petition from some of the leading opera singers in the world. Politicians also spoke out regarding the controversial move.