Bryn Terfel launches petition to reverse English opera cuts – but it does not mention cuts to Welsh opera
Sir Bryn Terfel has launched a petition to urge the UK Government to reverse cuts to opera in England – but it does not mention cuts to Welsh opera.
His petition which has so far been signed by almost 30,000 people calls on the Secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Michelle Donelan, to “reinstate the English National Opera’s ACE funding immediately”.
The announcement of funding cuts to English National Opera, Glyndebourne Productions Ltd and the Royal Opera House was made last week.
However, the petition does not mention the cuts made by Arts Council England to The Welsh National Opera.
The opera company based in the Millennium Centre Cardiff will also have its annual allowance cut by a third to £4 million. It is partly funded by the Arts Council England as it performs in Bristol, Liverpool, Birmingham, Southampton and Oxford as well as Wales.
Bryn Terfel’s petition says: “In total, £50m has been pulled from London’s arts funding. This is devastating to the cultural climate of the UK.”
It adds: “We call on the Government to radically rethink removing the English National Opera as an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation.
“The careers of singers, musicians, technical staff, creatives and other skilled workers both permanent and freelance will be at risk. Hundreds of thousands of audiences in London and nationwide, on broadcast and digital will be without opera.
“Fund the ENO to continue their vital contribution to London’s global cultural status as well as supporting their levelling up agenda nationwide and their groundbreaking ENO Breathe NHS programme for long covid sufferers. ENO is Opera for Everyone!”
In a statement released on Twitter this week, the English National Opera called on opera fans to sign the petition, saying: “We want to work with DCMS and ACE to aid the levelling up agenda but it has become clear to us that their proposal needs urgent revision so we can continue to be a world-class opera company in London and perform more regularly in all parts of the country, including Manchester.
“Please help us to get them to reconsider their current decision by signing this petition, kindly set up by Sir Bryn Terfel.”
The General Director of Welsh National Opera, meanwhile, has told the Guardian that he does not know how they are going to make up for the lost funding.
“We were steeling ourselves for a cut, but not for one at this level,” said general director Aidan Lang.
“Obviously provision of opera to England is going to have to come down. But we don’t know how that gap is going to be filled – if we don’t go to these cities who does?
“The advantage of cross-border funding fundamentally is that both countries get the benefits of a full-time opera company at a proportion of the actual cost.
“It’s all very well just taking the money out of England but it’s not quite as straightforward as reducing the proportionate number of performances we give in England.”
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