English National Opera has announced it will move from its long-time home in London to Manchester in a new partnership with the northern city. But while the move promises new innovations in opera, performance and creativity, many of the organisation’s London fans are upset by the announcement.
Many ENO supporters have taken to X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, to share their views. These have been helpfully compiled into a thread by Tom Bridges, who has added some further comments on the perhaps narrow-minded perspectives some of the posts show.
After reading the thread, we thought we’d share some of the best responses to ENO’s decision.
One person wrote in response to the ENO decision: “This is pure madness. Opera North is the society of the North … ENO must stay in London. It is world-class opera for everyone and everyone can come to London to see it.”
While we definitely agree that the capital is also the center of the universe, several replies to the post point out that trains run between London and Manchester, and that it is possible to have more than one opera house in the same city – a bit like London has.
“No more ENO matinees, then”
Another person complained about the time it takes them to get to Manchester, as opposed to London. They said: “The so-called aim of bringing art to people who don’t live in London is simply wrong. I live almost exactly halfway between London and Manchester. It takes me an hour to get to London by train. It takes me two to come to Manchester. No more ENO matinees then.”
It’s also “too expensive” to get to Manchester for the opera, according to someone else. They wrote: “ENO moving to Manchester is a joke. I’m not going to pay £200 for a train ticket to get up there when I can just go to the Royal Opera House I just feel. so bad for everyone about to be ripped off up with the roots in this move”.
“Are there as many opera lovers in Manchester who have the money to afford tickets compared to London?”
Another person is concerned about the financial viability of the opera house outside of London. They said: “This is the end of ENO. Are there as many opera lovers in Manchester who have the money to afford tickets compared to London?”
Manchester is also “just not cultured enough”, compared to London, according to another post. Someone said: “Everyone knows how much I seethe with metrocentricity, but how on earth are the ENO going to get reviews when they move to some unknown place in Manchester? Will London’s so-called ‘citizens’ be happy to foot the bill like that?”
The answers here are somewhat wild, but perhaps deserved: “People in the ‘north’ can write too, you know.”
Londoners ‘need culture’
People come to London for culture, according to another post. This person says: “Bananas that there is more than one theater in the West End when several villages don’t have one. Crazy for 5 Premier League football teams in London, why not just one for all of London?. Do you know how many people live and come to London, they need culture, Save ENO”.
“What next – Fortnum & Mason opens in Manchester?”
The real fears are starting to show now. The ENO departure could just be the start of a mass exodus of iconic London establishments – and Fortnum & Mason could be next.
Someone wrote: “Chanel. The English National Opera. What next – a Boden catalog recording at Hough End? Fortnum and Mason opening in Oldham Street?”
“This is vandalism”
For some, ENO’s move from London has a big impact on their nostalgic memories of perhaps better times. One person said: “The very first live opera I ever attended was ENO’s production of La Bohème in English at the Coliseum in the summer of 1981 when I attended the British Theoretical Mechanics Colloquium. They have a special place in my heart. This is vandalism.”
“Destroying lives, communities, our standing as a nation”
The ENO move to Manchester risks “destroying lives, communities, our standing as a nation” according to one person. It even risks London’s place as a global city, they say.
They wrote: “The board is completely, utterly out of its depth, destroying active life, communities, our standing as a nation and London’s as a global city. It’s pathetic.”
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