Tuesday 29 November 2005

Mona's Law

In one of Armistead Maupin's Tales in the City books, Mona expounds Mona's Law, 'You can have a hot lover, a hot job and a hot apartment, but you can't have all three at the same time'. Well London has its own version of the law which states that the Royal Opera and English National Opera can't both be operating at an artistic peak at the same time.

For years it was ENO (particularly the powerhouse years under Pountney, Jonas and Elder) who rode the crest of the wave where the Royal Opera struggled to define what it was for in a poor enconomic climate. This culminated in the embarassing arguments over the years in exile whilst the Royal Opera House was being re-built.

But all this has changed and the Royal Opera is on something of a roll (though the Pappano regime is still having trouble coming up with an effective production style). But post-powerhouse ENO are continuing to have the same sort of troubles that the post-Thatcher Conservative party have.

Ironically the rebuilding of the London Coliseum does not seem to have had such a revitalising effect on ENO. So far we have had 3 artistic directors (Nicholas Payne, Denis Marks and Sean Doran), none of whom has really had long enough to make his mark. Now we have the news that Doran has resigned, effective immediately. So ENO must go looking again. I only hope that they find someone soon.

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