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Breaking: Big Brother becomes opera house chairman

The dread news has just landed.

English National Opera has appointed as its new chairman Sir Peter Bazalgette, the man who put Big Brother on British television and did more than any other in decades to degrade UK culture.

 (photo: London Speakers Bureau)

Bazalgette has been on the ENO board for almost a decade and given large donations to the company. He and I have clashed in the media several times over his pernicious BB series, whichw as not an original idea but an import from Holland. I do not doubt his passion for opera, but his values are questionable and his judgement flawed.

The Arts Council have – typically – approved his chairmanship without referral. He succeeds the excellent  and generousVernon Ellis.

Here’s a letter from ENO chief exec Loretta Tomassi announcing his ascension.

Dear All


Please find attached a press release which has just gone out appointing Sir Peter Bazalgette as Chairman of ENO. Some of you will have met Peter as he has been an ENO Board member for almost 8 years and has been Deputy Chairman and Board member responsible for fundraising for 3 years.


Our current Chairman, Vernon Ellis is retiring as the end of his second two year term approaches and he will become ENO’s President.


Kind regards



UPDATE: Here’s the press release:

English National Opera (ENO) today announces that Sir Peter Bazalgette is to be its new
Chairman from 1 May 2012. Sir Peter, who has been the company’s Deputy Chairman and
Board member responsible for fundraising since June 2009 takes over from Sir Vernon Ellis
who retires as Chairman at the end of his second three year term to become ENO’s
Sir Peter was knighted in this year’s New Year Honours list for services to broadcasting. He
is a non-executive director of DCMS and YouGov and is involved in a number of digital
media companies. He previously chaired the Crossness Engine Trust and was Deputy Chair
of the National Film & Television School.
Announcing the appointment, Loretta Tomasi (ENO Chief Executive) said: “Peter’s passion
for ENO’s work and commercial leadership experience combine as a powerful base to build
on our reputation as one of the world’s leading opera houses.”
John Berry (ENO Artistic Director) said: “As a major creative force in his own right, Peter is
a perfect choice for an ambitious and innovative performing arts company such as ENO”
Sir Peter commented: “I am delighted to be asked to lead ENO forward. With its world class
opera and commitment to emerging British talent it is an exciting task”

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