There has been a certain amount of private gloating at ENO about overturning the Arts Council England decision to evict them from London this season. Instead, they have been given £11.46m of National Lottery funding to see them through the next season.
But just for one season.
Lottery funding is a one-off. It is not the same as regular ACE subsidy. Rather, it’s a face-saving device to buy the ACE a little time before it reverts to removing ENO from London.
ENO maintains in its statement that it does not know why it has to go.
ACE insiders say that every year over the past seven ENO has been told by the ACE that it is living on borrowed time. Season after season it has played to little over 50 percent capacity in the London Coliseum – and that is despite wads of tickets being offered at £5 a head to the deserving young, or given away altogether for free.
The ACE has told ENO its business model no longer works. ENO has yet to come up with a replacement model. Unless it does, very fast, this is still curtains for ENO.
Meanwhile, ENO is already blaming ACE that ‘that our plans for the season ahead will inevitably have to change.’
What really needs to change is the ENO board.