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Monday, 19 June, 2000, 16:45 GMT 17:45 UK
Opera House boss quits
Royal Opera House
The Royal Opera House re-opened after a refit last year
The executive director of the Royal Opera House, Michael Kaiser, has announced his resignation from the post for personal reasons.

Mr Kaiser, who has been in the job for just over 18 months, told staff in a letter the would be leaving by June 2001 - the end of the venue's new season.

The American said the decision to leave was "the most profoundly difficult of my career and was taken only after a great deal of thought".

"But for personal reasons, it is time for me to return to my home," he added.

Michael Kaiser and Sir Colin Southgate
Michael Kaiser (left) with Sir Colin Southgate at the venue's topping-out ceremony

Mr Kaiser has been credited with turning around the fortunes of the national venue, in Covent Garden, central London, which is home to both the Royal Opera and the Royal Ballet.

He was appointed in November 1998 from the American Ballet Theatre, and at the time was the opera house's fourth chief executive in two years.

Last year he presided over its re-opening after a 214m refurbishment.

Mr Kaiser said he was "proud" to have been part of the team which had completed work on the new opera house.

The opera house was desperately short of funds and had frequently been accused of snobbery, elitism and mismanagement.

There was uproar when 78.5m of lottery funds had been donated to help fund the development, which itself suffered from years of rows and delays.

Now the new venue aims to attract a wider audience with cheaper ticket prices, and includes new studio theatres and bars and restaurants which are open all day.

"I believe we have laid the foundation for a remarkable and versatile arts organisation," Mr Kaiser said.

Chairman Sir Colin Southgate praised Mr Kaiser's "countless achievements".

"He has approached this enormously challenging job with unrelenting energy, commitment and determination.

"The Royal Opera House is now on a very sure footing both financially and artistically and we owe him a huge debt of gratitude."

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See also:

01 Dec 99 | Entertainment
Royal rebirth for Opera House
19 Jan 00 | Entertainment
New hitches hit Royal Opera House
20 Nov 98 | Entertainment
Opera boss outlines future plans
02 Dec 99 | Entertainment
Picture gallery: Opera's glittering night
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