A most fascinating exchange took place on Radio 4's Today programme this morning.
Kasper Holten was there to pimp the Royal Opera House's imminent live-ish streaming day. But he perhaps hadn't reckoned with the bloodhound instincts of one of the few proper journalists left at the BBC, Today presenter James Naughtie.
The full interview, which you can listen to here, begins at about 16:00. Zip forward to 22:15 for the following:
JN - And I suppose you'll then get down to writing your application for Tony Hall's job as chief executive of the Royal Opera House, will you?
KH - Well, I think.....I'm very sad that you've taken Tony Hall away from us and I'm very curious to see who will be the boss.
JN - That's avoiding the question.
KH - [laughs] No, listen, I just feel so privileged being able to work at Covent Garden.
Now of course it could just be that Danish ears met a Scottish accent and Kasper misheard the question, in which case everything below is mere speculation.
If that's not the case, surely he would have been quick to confirm that he hadn't applied for the job? The ever-professional Naughtie gave him two opportunities to do so.
But isn't he an excellent candidate?
He knows the organisation and understands more about the role than any outsider. He's already demonstrated a willingness to tackle problems and has signficantly reduced the distance between the Royal Opera House and its customers in his so-far brief tenure. Importantly, he already has directly relevant experience, from his previous job as Artistic Director of the Royal Danish Opera, an organisation that operates without a CEO as such. There he learned the hard way about unglamorous but important matters like controlling costs.
If Kasper Holten took over from Tony Hall, then Covent Garden would function more like the typical continental house, where an Intendant or similar oversees both artistic and administrative matters. Would that be such a bad thing?