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Monday, 11 December, 2000, 14:57 GMT
Opera boss speculation grows
Royal Opera House
There is no deadline for appointing a new ROH boss
The Royal Opera House (ROH) has said it is not rushing its decision to appoint a new executive director, and that it can "function happily" without one.

Its current head, Michael Kaiser, leaves on Friday after two years in the job, and there is much speculation about who is to replace him.

The ROH has refused to reveal who is on its shortlist, but the BBC's head of News, Tony Hall, confirmed he had been approached but that he would not pursue the position.

An ROH spokesman told BBC News Online: "We are mid-way through making the decision, but with everyone else in position, we can function happily without an executive director until then."

tony hall
Tony Hall: BBC confirmed he has been approached
He added that they wanted to finalise the process as soon as possible, but that the decision "must be the right one" and that there was no deadline for reaching it.

Mr Kaiser is leaving the world famous venue - home to both the Royal Opera and the Royal Ballet - to become president of the John F Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington.

In his time at the Opera House, Kaiser saw it through a troubled 214m refurbishment, a change of image and secured extra funding.

The Sunday Times said Hall was described by colleagues as "a very good administrator who has run the largest BBC department with a workforce of about 2,500".

Shortlist 'revealed'

Mr Hall said: "There have been some conversations but nothing more than that.

"I'm very happy doing my current job running BBC News."

The newspaper also reported there were three others on the shortlist.

It said Pierre Audi, artistic director of the Netherlands Opera for 12 years and founder of London's Almeida Theatre, was a "strong candidate".

Rudolf Berger, who runs Strasbourg Opera was also cited, along with Richard Lyttleton, president of EMI Classics.

Berger was described as a "competent arts administrator who tried and failed in 1997 to win the job of running Glyndebourne".

Lyttleton has worked for EMI for about 20 years, and is known for his knowledge of classical music.

Expensive tickets

Last month the ROH was accused by classical music impresario Raymond Gubbay of running a "semi-private clique", excluding ordinary members of the public.

Gubbay - often credited with increasing opera's popularity - accused the current management of "paternalistic, clubby arrogance".

The ROH has run into controversy in recent months over the high price of tickets - and claims of poor visibility and acoustics.

Gubbay's outburst followed the news that his application to run the world-famous venue - home to both the Royal Opera and the Royal Ballet - had been rejected.

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See also:

02 Nov 00 | Entertainment
'Arrogant' opera chiefs lambasted
25 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Opera chief goes to Washington
19 Jun 00 | UK
Opera House boss quits
19 Jan 00 | Entertainment
New hitches hit Royal Opera House
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