Financial woes force ENO to withdraw from Bristol production

11 November 2014, 15:33 | Updated: 11 November 2014, 16:17

The English National Opera has pulled out of a planned co-production with the Bristol Old Vic, blaming a 'challenging funding situation'.

There was much excitement around the proposed staging of Monteverdi's Orfeo, scheduled for next April. The opera would have been ENO’s first production outside of London for 15 years.

But the need to make substantial savings has forced a rethink.

ENO announced a £2.2 million loss two years ago but in the last financial year - ending April 2014 - the company posted a £200,000 surplus which reduced the deficit entirely. It recently learned however that its subsidy from Arts Council England from April 2015 will shrink by 27% from £17.2m to £12.4m.

“We are very sorry not to be working with Bristol Old Vic next year," ENO artistic director John Berry said. 

"However, maintaining a stable financial position is crucial to the company’s future and the ENO board and management agreed that we must reassess our artistic ambitions and align them with the funds available during 15/16."

The Bristol Old Vic has postponed the production while it seeks new partners. It's hoped the work can still be staged within the next couple of years.

The Bristol Old Vic's artistic director Tom Morris said he was sympathetic to ENO's situation but described the decision as "deeply regrettable, given the level of excitement in the city about a partnership combining Bristol Old Vic’s vision for a production of Orfeo and the resources and expertise of ENO.”

Customers with tickets for Orfeo are being offered tickets to other Bristol Old Vic productions or a full refund.