Friday 23 November 2012

Tony Hall - envoi

So he is going. It was inevitable that Tony Hall would leave the Royal Opera House at some time and we must think ourselves lucky that he has devoted 11 years to Covent Garden and managed a quiet transformation. Whoever is chosen in his place, it will mean that Coven Garden will start next year with both a new Director of Opera (Kasper Holten) and a new Chief Executive, so we have interesting times ahead.

One hopes that the board manage the selection process adequately. Not all of their appointments have been equally apposite. Tony Hall did not come from a professional theatre or opera management background, but London has a rich tradition of Intendants from a variety of backgrounds and milieu such as Lilian Baylis, Jeremy Iscaacs, Lore Harewood and David Webster. It was Webster (once derisively referred to as that 'homosexual haberdasher') who effective created the Covent Garden company after the war. The role of Chief Executive has changed a lot since Webster's day of course (in fact Webster was General Administrator and his successor John Tooley was General Director); the creation of the role of Director of Opera, the post now occupied by Kasper Holten, has changed the balance of things.

Now, with a hands on Director of Opera who directs, the climate is bound to change again.So I hope that the selection process does not get hidebound and wish Kasper Holten and Kevin O'Hare well with their new boss. Don't you love it when you get a new job and then your boss ups and leaves.

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