The problem with Swan Lake

Over this summer you can see Swan Lake performed at the Royal Opera House by the Royal Ballet; at the Coliseum by a company from Georgia; at Sadler’s Wells by Chinese acrobats; and at the Royal Albert Hall by English National Ballet. It is expected therefore to attract audiences of Taylor Swiftian magnitude – well in excess of 100,000, by my very rough reckoning. And should you dread autumnal withdrawal symptoms, then fear not: a film of Matthew Bourne’s version will be shown in cinemas in September, prior to a national live tour starting in November and continuing until May, including a two-month season at Sadler’s Wells over Christmas. There

Why the Arts Council should kill off ENO and ENB

Pity Arts Council England, least loved of our NGOs, understaffed and under-resourced, its arm’s-length status gnawed to the shoulder by DCMS ukases, the stinginess of the Treasury and the government’s (in some respects, welcome) indifference to our higher culture. In return for its annual grant-in-aid (currently £336 million), it is obliged to cheer-lead policies of inclusivity and diversity and step gingerly over the eggshells of elitism, racism, gender politics and decolonisation. Its hands are further tied by the requirement to operate as extensions of the social services. The diktats of Levelling Up have to be honoured. The disabled and the disadvantaged, the young and the old are all crying out