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Armstrong bows out of Scottish Opera

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Richard Armstrong has announced he will stand down as music director of Scottish Opera from July 2005 after 12 years in the post.

His decision marks the end of a turbulent year for the company, during which it has been forced to make extensive redundancies in order to cut costs. It also ends months of speculation regarding Armstrong’s future with Scottish Opera after Duncan McGhie stepped down as chairman in July.

In June this year the company was given a £7 million bail out by the Scottish Executive with £4.5 million to be repaid to the Scottish Arts Council during the next four years as part of a restructuring plan. It was also announced that, as part of the deal, 88 of the company’s 205 jobs were to be axed by March 2006.

Armstrong was an outspoken opponent of the package, which saw almost half of the chorus made redundant this summer and the company forced to perform no mainscale opera for seven months from next June.

SO is also involved in negotiations to lease its Theatre Royal home to the Ambassador Theatre Group in order to remove the annual debt, which it accrues through its ownership of the venue.

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