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Opera Luminaries Pen Open Letter Protesting Welsh National Opera’s Budget Cuts

By Sara Schabas on May 13, 2024

Wales Millennium Centre
Wales Millennium Centre September 2023 (CC BY-SA 4.0/ Wikipedia)

More than 175 opera artists signed a letter to the British and Welsh governments addressing the effects of the Arts Council of England’s funding cuts on the Welsh National Opera (WNO). The WNO’s budget will decrease from £6.2 to £4 million a year as a result of the cuts.

Driving the news: England’s opera scene has been reeling since November 2022, when the Arts Council of England (ACE) announced huge funding cuts to the UK’s major opera companies. In September of 2023, the Welsh National Opera suffered a second blow when the ACE announced further cuts to the WNO. As a result, the WNO recently announced the cancellation of its production of Rigoletto, a two week reduction from its performance calendar, as well as cancelled touring dates.

Why it matters: Founded in 1943, the Welsh National Opera is the largest touring company in England and is considered one of Wales’ finest national institutions. The company has 222 employees and maintains a year-round schedule.

The letter penned by music director Tomáš Hanus expresses that the WNO’s new budget is meager even by regional opera companies’ standards, which will make the company’s high quality hard to maintain. Fingers’ crossed that the British and Welsh governments reconsider the decisions of the ACE and protect this jewel in the so-called Land of Song.

Sara Schabas
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