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Thursday, 4 January, 2001, 11:52 GMT
Opera House silent over Hall reports
Royal Opera House
ROH hopes to announce its new boss next week
The Royal Opera House (ROH) is refusing to comment on reports that its talks over appointing the BBC's head of news, Tony Hall, as its new boss have stalled.

The Guardian says that opera lover Mr Hall "is understood to be keen to take on the high-profile role, but may be holding out for a better financial package".

Speculation has been rife that the ROH is keen to appoint Mr Hall, who confirmed last year he was approached but said he was not interested.

The ROH spokeswoman said they "did not expect to make an announcement on the position until next week", and restated that the names on its shortlist for its new head were confidential.

tony hall
Tony Hall: He confirmed he has been approached
The Guardian adds that maintaining Mr Hall's current salary "would pose a challenge for the board of the Opera House, whose pay scales, in line with other arts bodies, do not offer the lucrative packages accrued by senior BBC staff".

But the ROH spokeswoman said they did not disclose information on salaries.

The job at the world famous venue - home to both the Royal Opera and the Royal Ballet - became vacant in December after Michael Kaiser left after two years in the job.

His successor was expected to be announced later that month, but despite the delay, the ROH confirmed it could "function happily" without one until it reached a decision.

Mr Kaiser is now president of the John F Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington.


He managed to see the Opera House through some troubled times, including its 214m refurbishment and change of image - and he also secured it extra funding.

The Sunday Times reported last year that Hall was on the ROH shortlist, adding that three others were also being considered.

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.

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

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