The ENO has said it risks bankruptcy if its proposed changes to choristers’ contracts are not implemented.
Last month, 42 of the company’s 44 choristers voted to strike over a dispute with the company about pay and jobs.
As a result, the choir will refuse to sing in the first act of a performance of Akhnaten in London on 18 March.
But the ENO has said the plans it has put forward are “are essential to ensure the future” of the company.
“Without a fundamental shift in our business plan, and a move towards seasonal contracts for some employees, we put the future of the company at grave risk of bankruptcy,” the ENO said in a statement.
The ENO has previously said it is asking the chorus to reduce their contracted time with the company by 25% – moving from a 12-month contract to a nine-month contract.
The choir’s refusal to sing in the first act of the 18 March performance of Akhnaten will mean they are absent for around a quarter of the full duration of the show – a reference to the proposed 25% cut.
Martin Brown from the choristers’ union Equity predicted the performance may not go ahead without the them.
“The opera world is appalled that this world-class choir is facing such pay cuts,” he said. “We have had fantastic support from the arts world and audiences.”
In February last year, the Arts Council dropped ENO from its national portfolio of organisations for 2015-18. Two months later, the ENO announced it was cutting ticket prices in an attempt to secure its financial future.
Earlier this month, chief executive Cressida Pollock said the ENO was “committed to preserving a permanent chorus at ENO”. But she added the company had “some difficult decisions to make over coming weeks”.
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Source:: BBC Entertainment