Peter Gelb Speaks Out Regarding English National Opera

By Francisco Salazar

Peter Gelb has written an open letter to the Arts Council England via Telegraph following the council’s decision to cut funding from the English National Opera. 

In the letter, the Metropolitan Opera General Manager said, “The Arts Council’s decision to cut funding entirely for the English National Opera (ENO) and tell the company to move to Manchester (Letters, November 19) seems remarkably short-sighted and damaging, not only to the ENO but also more broadly to Britain.”

He added, “as the head of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, I know that the ENO has long been one of our most important co-producing partners. Our collaborations on numerous productions have been seen by millions in Britain, America and across the world through our cinema and radio broadcasts, bringing cultural glory home to Britain. The ENO has also trained and developed new talent to the benefit of audiences in Britain and abroad. And it has been at the forefront of making opera accessible to new and younger audiences.”

Gelb concluded, “the ENO has historically provided a programming contrast to the Royal Opera House – the two companies together providing a programming mix that, along with London’s other leading theatres, helped establish London as a cultural capital of the world. By denying funds to the ENO, the Arts Council is making an arbitrary decision to undo one of Britain’s most important cultural assets. It will diminish the British arts scene and undermine what I had thought was the very purpose of the Arts Council: to support important cultural institutions, not destroy them. The defunding of the ENO is a destructive act for opera, for the arts in general, and for the public, who deserve better. I urge the Arts Council to reconsider.”

The ENO has co-produced many operas with the Metropolitan Opera including “Madama Butterfly,” “Satyagraha,” “Eugene Onegin” and the upcoming Ring Cycle.