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Thursday, December 4, 1997 Published at 14:33 GMT


Royal Opera board offer to resign
image: [ Another ROH chief has left the stage ]
Another ROH chief has left the stage

The Chairman of the Royal Opera House, Lord Chadlington, has quit and the entire board have also offered their resignations in the light of a damning parliamentary report that called the opera management "abysmal".

The board members will stay on in a "caretaker role".

[ image: Lord Chadlington said resigning was the honourable thing to do]
Lord Chadlington said resigning was the honourable thing to do
Lord Chadlington, 55, who has been Chairman since September 1996, was among those urged to quit yesterday by an incriminating parliamentary select committee report.

His resignation comes after a meeting on Thursday with the Culture Secretary, Chris Smith. He said after the highly critical report that it was his duty to resign.

"I hope that my decision, and those of my colleagues, demonstrate our determination to clear the way with honour for a fresh start with a new board which will have the confidence of the staff of the Royal Opera House, the public, the Government and the Arts Council," Lord Chadlington said.

Deputy chairman Sir James Spooner will assume control of the caretaker board "so that an orderly handover to a newly constituted board can be effected as soon as possible".

Sir James said: "The board wishes to pay tribute to Lord Chadlington who has worked tirelessly on behalf of the Royal Opera House and has steered it courageously during this period of transition and financial difficulty."

The parliamentary report, published by the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said it "would prefer to see the House run by a philistine with the requisite financial acumen than by the succession of opera and ballet lovers who have brought a great and valuable institution to its knees".

It added that Lord Chadlington was not to blame for the deficit when he took over, but added: "We are not convinced of the adequacy of his efforts to alleviate the plight."

[ image: Chief Executive Mary Allen will not step aside]
Chief Executive Mary Allen will not step aside
The Royal Opera House currently has a debt of 7m and predicts it will lose 10m over the next year.

Mary Allen, the Royal Opera House Chief Executive, has said that she will not step aside.

Ms Allen insisted on the BBC's Radio 4 Today programme that she could turn around the company's finances within a matter of months.

A board statement said Ms Allen and her management team have "unanimous support" from Lord Chadlington and the board.

A successor to Lord Chadlington has not been named.

BBC Arts Correspondent Nick Higham discusses the crisis at the ROH (Dur: 1'33")

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