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EDITIONS
 Wednesday, 22 January, 2003, 19:06 GMT
Troubled opera wins extra money
English National Opera
The ENO has a history of money problems
The Arts Council of England has agreed to give the English National Opera (ENO) enough additional funding to secure its future.

But it is not clear whether the money, announced on Wednesday, will be adequate to save the jobs of a third of ENO's chorus, which are under threat.

Choristers at the ENO this week staged a musical protest against the company's plans to cut its 60 jobs down to 40.

The job losses were said to part of a strategic business plan put before the Arts Council by ENO's management.

The ENO's chairman Martin Smith welcomed the funding.

ENO's A Masked Ball
The ENO's A Masked Ball won controversy but not audiences

"I am delighted that the Arts Council of England has affirmed its commitment to the future of English National Opera. Our strategy is far-reaching, and I do not underestimate the scale of the task ahead," he said.

"However, my board colleagues and I firmly believe that we, together with the company will be in a position to deliver a revitalised, artistically vibrant and financially sound company in 2004.

Changes ahead

Despite the Arts Council's rescue package, it insisted it had not rubber-stamped ENO's proposals.

It said further discussions must take place over the coming month.

The ENO has a history of financial difficulties and has had to go to the Arts Council for help before.

Five years ago it was given more than 9m but its financial problems have got worse since then.

In its latest cost-cutting move it proposed to reduce its chorus and re-organise its management, in exchange for more money.

An ENO spokeswoman said no decisions on job losses had yet been made, but admitted there would be a number of changes.

"In order for the ENO to become financially viable, there are going to have to be changes across the company.

"Members of the chorus have been and will continue to be consulted over the possible options open to them," she said.

But the performers' union Equity said they remained concerned about the future of chorus members.

They have authorised a ballot on industrial action if the threat of redundancy is not withdrawn.

See also:

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