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<<  -- 3 --  Roderic Dunnett    A MOMENT OF MADNESS


There Rosenberg also developed a reputation for both locating new talent and founding an array of education and training programs -- many of which are now being considered by the European Union for integration into the education departments of EU countries.

'Seeing this happen at the Coliseum,' she continues, 'I must admit scares me : I don't know the make up of ENO's board, but if they come from outside the art form, then whatever the determining parameters are of the art form, you can bet they won't have the right instincts for it. That's why they need a Nicholas Payne to guide them.'

'Any board that reacts thus when there's a safe pair of hands already in place suggests a clear case of ill-judged short-termism : a misguided knee-jerk reaction. It's mad to let someone of such competence go. Nicholas has a real instinct for the metier, he's gone through the best schooling imaginable for running that company; by any standards he is the ideal person to head ENO.

Nicholas Payne. Photo: Laurie Lewis
Nicholas Payne. Photo: Laurie Lewis

Summing up, the ENO board's latest flawed decision leaves her deeply unimpressed. 'They are very, very short sighted. I think they perhaps had some experience in the past with his predecessor [Dennis Marks] not coming from the Opera metier. But look at what Payne's achieved : I thought Pelleas and Melisande one of the best things I've seen anywhere in the last six or seven years.'

For her, Payne's achievement is quite simply outstanding : 'He's done astonishing things on an artistic level -- the quality of both the singers and the orchestra : he's built a really strong ensemble there. To dismantle it would be criminal. He's got good ears, good judgment, really knows how to manage a company -- giving solid management on a tight budget; at a time when the subvention from the Arts Council hasn't been generous or even adequate, the kind of work they manage to do on a limited budget is astounding.'

'To have something that's working very well indeed, and suddenly to blow it apart, is just downright daft.'

Copyright © 29 July 2002 Roderic Dunnett, Coventry, UK





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