Page last updated at 09:38 GMT, Friday, 3 April 2009 10:38 UK

ENO 'in best place' for recession

Englaish National Opera
The English National Opera is based at the London Coliseum

The English National Opera (ENO) is in the "best place it has ever been" to cope with the economic downturn, its chief executive has said.

Speaking at launch of the ENO's 2009/10 season, Loretta Tomasi said company had £5m of reserves after it took action to secure its finances two years ago.

"Obviously with the economic climate, we have had some ups and downs," Mrs Tomasi said.

She added attendance was at 79% of capacity last season.

"The company is in the best place it's ever been with the difficult economic climate to try and survive it," she said.

"It's in the best position both because of a strong artistic programme and because the company has some reserves."

Restructuring and renegotiating contracts had allowed the ENO to build up reserves out of an annual turnover of around £31-32 million, she added.

The ENO's 2009/10 season includes a collaboration with experimental "immersive" theatre company Punchdrunk, which put on a critically-acclaimed production of Faust in a disused warehouse in 2006.

The newly-commissioned opera will be staged in a "found space" - most likely a disused building of some sort - in July next year.

The season also features more traditional works, including Puccini's Turandot, directed by Rupert Goold.

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