One of the most controversial aspects of ENO's new season is the decision to branch out into musicals.
In partnership with Michael Grade and Michael Linnit they plan to develop new productions of "the finest musicals". The idea is to grab back some of the weeks the Coliseum is currently hired out to visiting dance companies and use them to create one new musical production a year. ENO's technical resources and orchestra will be drawn on, as well as their theatre. It is hoped that productions may transfer to the West End, which is where the real goldmine lies. The National Theatre have made millions over the years from transfers like War Horse and The History Boys, and ENO are keen to follow in their footsteps.
Quite apart from justifiable and understandable artistic concerns - in other words, should an opera company be producing musicals? - there are more troubling financial questions to be answered.
With a looming deficit only staved off by the generosity of an anonymous donor, a third of the seats empty each night, and widespread criticism of some dubious artistic decisions, ENO had to do something to dig themselves out the quicksand.
The 2014-15 season, announced today, seems designed to place quality above novelty (at long last) and, more importantly in the short term, to put bums back on seats. Some might call it boring. I think it's a long-overdue recognition of limitations.
John Berry, currently the Artistic Director "will lead the executive team, as well as continuing to lead on the company’s ambitious artistic programme". So this change places him in charge of everything. As Executive Director, Götz will only be responsible for operational matters.
Whether or not you think Berry himself is the cause of ENO's artistic and financial malaise, there's no question he has failed to resolve it. Will the increase in his powers make things better or worse? Guesses welcome.
The offer is available for all remaining shows excludes top price tickets (£110) and Secret Seats.
I usually test out these offers before posting, but I can't reach the ENO booking pages right now because they are TOO BUSY. Has the opera world gone totally mad? Next thing you know, international sopranos will be cancelling role debuts the week before rehearsals start. Oh, hang on.