Scottish Opera Chief Executive Quits to Run Birmingham Royal Ballet
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
The Herald [Glasgow]
The chief executive of Scottish Opera and Scottish Ballet has resigned to become the new head of the Birmingham Royal Ballet.
Christopher Barron, who has been at the helm of the national opera company during five years of turmoil, will join the Midlands company in October.
It has been rumoured for months that, after the appointment of William Taylor QC as chairman of the opera board, and the reorganisation forced upon the company last year, Mr. Barron would leave this summer.
In his reign as chief executive, the opera completed its acclaimed Ring cycle and maintained its high artistic profile, but was affected by funding problems and deficits, and was forced into a painful and controversial reorganisation. The opera's financial problems dominated Mr. Barron's years at the Glasgow-based company.
Last year's funding deal involved the redundancy of 88 staff, including the entire opera chorus, and a dark season, which is to begin later this year.
The opera was forced to trim more than £1 million from its costs, live within its £7.5 million grant, and pay back a £4 million loan over three years.
It is now likely that the chief executive role will be changed to a general director post. Whoever is appointed will work with a new artistic director, who will succeed Sir Richard Armstrong, who also leaves this summer.
With the formerly united boards of Scottish Ballet and Scottish Opera now separated, it was unclear how Mr. Barron could carry on in his dual position as chief executive at both companies.
Mr. Barron said: "It has been an enormous privilege to work with Scottish Opera and Scottish Ballet over the years and I wish my colleagues there the very best for the future.
"The companies are tremendous assets to Scotland and I am proud of what the many talented individuals have achieved during my time working with them."
Mr. Taylor said: "On behalf of the Scottish Opera board and staff, I would like to wish Chris every success in his new role. Chris has been a committed champion of Scottish Opera for the past five years continuing to provide leadership to the company through a period of enormous change.
"He has helped us through that time and leaves Scottish Opera with a more assured future." Zoe van Zwanenberg, chair of Scottish Ballet, said: "I would like to pay tribute to the contribution Chris has made during his time with Scottish Ballet.
"We have ambitious plans and look forward to continuing the very focused agenda of work that Chris led during his time as chief executive."
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