Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Sunday, October 24, 1999 Published at 16:52 GMT 17:52 UK

UK: Scotland

Debt phantom back to haunt opera

The company's recent past has been turbulent

Scottish Opera has confirmed it faces a severe financial crisis with estimated debts of more than £1m.

Arts correspondent Pauline McLean on the company's troubles
The Scottish Arts Council, which has received a request for money from the national company, said a proposed merger with Scottish Ballet could not go ahead until the situation has been resolved.

Arts Minister Sam Galbraith has expressed concern over the situation and representatives of both organisations have been summoned to talks with the government this week.

[ image: The company is seeking more money]
The company is seeking more money
Arts council chairman, Magnus Linklater, said the problem would impede the merger proposal but expressed the hope that Scottish Opera could reach a resolution.

The merger has been seen as a means of consolidating the position of both companies after previous periods of financial instability.

But Scottish Opera has been forced to ask for more money from the SAC for the third time in a matter of years and the financial problem is the latest in a series of problems for both companies.

Scottish Opera's general manager Ruth Mackenzie, who would have overseen the merged company, resigned her post earlier this year and blamed irreconcilable differences with the board of Scottish Ballet for her decision.

The Scottish National's Party's culture spokesman, Mike Russell MSP, said the Scottish Executive should launch a wide-ranging inquiry into the funding of national arts companies in order to achieve a "long term solution" to their problems.

'Dangerously in the red'

Mr Russell, who is a member of the Scottish Parliament's education and culture committee, said: "It cannot be satisfactory that Scottish Opera is once again dangerously in the red.

"The whole point of the impending merger between Scottish Opera and Scottish Ballet was to find a long-term solution to the funding problems experienced by these national companies.

"But it looks as if Scottish Opera might have to take into the merger a weight of debt that will destabilise the whole plan.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Relevant Stories

02 Jul 99†|†UK
Companies dance to a new tune

Internet Links

Scottish Ballet

Scottish Arts Council

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Sport
Collins calls it a day for Scots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Death inquiry anaesthetist barred

Bowled over by Lord's

Ministers loosen purse strings

'Delight' at Tunnel court outcome

From Sport
Derby double swoop fails

Demands for far-reaching information bill

Gaelic makes sound use of the internet

Trusts 'ignoring' depression advice

BBC Scotland - On Air

'Little change' since poverty pledge

Nine hurt as bus crashes into pub

Teachers' union in pay body challenge

Dental death hearing adjourned

Parliament ponders Royal High flit

Reid quits PR job

Industry misses new trains target

Football and royalty dominate Westminster

From Sport
The next Battle of Britain

Man charged with murdering lab technician

Lockerbie trial judges named

Festival award for Ratcatcher