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

Wednesday, November 3, 1999 Published at 08:41 GMT

UK: Scotland

MSPs launch Scottish Opera inquiry

Performances are heavily subsidised

Executives from debt-ridden Scottish Opera and the other national arts companies are to be called to give evidence about the organisation's finances to the Scottish Parliament.

The decision of the parliament's culture committee to ask for the appearances follows news that Scottish Opera is more than £1m in the red.

The committee will begin by questioning Junior Culture Minister Rhona Brankin.

Third debt crisis

It will then question representatives of Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra about the way those organisations are funded and how they manage their finances.

Representatives of the Musicians Union and Equity are also expected to be called to give evidence.

[ image: The company is seeking more money]
The company is seeking more money
More than £1 from every man, woman and child in Scotland goes in tax to keep Scottish Opera in business.

With its annual audience numbering around 100,000, the subsidy amounts to £55 per performance for each person watching the performances.

For the third time in recent years, Scottish Opera is in deep financial crisis and is asking for more money.

But the Scottish Arts Council, which has received a request for money from the national company, has said a proposed merger with Scottish Ballet cannot go ahead until the situation has been resolved.

Merger proposal

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.

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.

Funding problems

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.

The Scottish National's Party's culture spokesman, Mike Russell MSP, said: "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

Scottish Parliament

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