Martyn Brabbins
(c) Benjamin Ealovega

British conductor Martyn Brabbins, 64, has announced that he has resigned as Music Director of the English National Opera in response to the announced cuts to ENO’s orchestra and chorus.

The company wants to reduce the size of its orchestra from 69 to 50 performers and to reduce their contract to a 26 week period and 60% of current annual hours and salary.

Martyn Brabbins said: « As Music Director of English National Opera for the past seven years, and Head of its orchestra, chorus and music staff, I cannot in all conscience continue to support the Board and Management’s strategy for the future of the company.

While my feelings on this have been developing for some time, it reached its nadir this week, with the internal announcement of severe cuts to its orchestra and chorus from 2024/25 season. In protest, this afternoon I tendered my resignation with immediate effect.

Although making cuts has been necessitated by Arts Council England’s interference in the company’s future, the proposed changes would drive a coach and horses through the artistic integrity of the whole of ENO as a performing company, while also singularly failing to protect our musicians’ livelihoods.

This is a plan of managed decline, rather than an attempt to rebuild the company and maintain the world-class artistic output, for which ENO is rightly famed. »

He added: « I urge ACE to reassess this situation and recognise the devastating implications their funding decisions will have on the lives of individual musicians, as well the reputation of the UK on the international stage. »

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