Opera bosses fear Brexit could stop top talent coming to the UK at short notice
Opera impresarios and the chief executive of the Royal Opera House are among those voicing concerns about the impact Britain’s withdrawal from the EU will have on the industry here in Britain.
Such is the demands of opera singing, star performers often suffer illness or voice loss and need to be replaced at short notice.
Freedom of movement means opera managers could call on a pool of high calibre singers from across the continent who could step it at the last minute if a cast member pulled out suddenly.
But with Britain set to quit the single market in order to tighten its borders, it could potentially block foreign opera singers from travelling to the UK immediately.
A simple work permit system for EU members with an offer of work in Britain has been mooted as a possible compromise within the Brexit negotiations.
But it remains to be seen how quickly a work permit could be granted, or if applications could be fast tracked in exceptional circumstances.
Alex Beard, chief executive of the Royal Opera House, recently wrote: “The quality of work the Royal Opera House stages, for example, is immeasurably enhanced by the ability to draw immediately on a Europe-wide talent pool in the event of sickness.”
The Royal Opera House in London
And Wasfi Kani, founder of the Grange Park Opera, told the Financial Times that three quarters of the singers used in her company’s production of The Valkyrie last year came from abroad.
“There are some voice types where there are lots available in Europe and far fewer in the UK.
“To get singers from outside the EU takes around three months.”
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