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Former ENO boss John Berry launches not-for-profit opera company

Former ENO artistic director John Berry
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Former English National Opera boss John Berry has launched a new, not-for-profit company that will commission and produce opera as well as offer training opportunities.

Berry quit as artistic director of ENO in 2015 after 20 years with the company. He has now launched Opera Ventures, a charitable organisation that will produce opera and mixed-media performances in addition to providing workshops, classes and training.

Opera Ventures’ executive team includes chief executive Michelle Wright, who founded philanthropy start-up Cause4, former ENO chief executive Loretta Tomasi, who is Opera Ventures’ executive producer, and Sally Groves as its chair.

Berry described the charity as a “flexible and agile” organisation, which will create and produce original artistic ideas, working with partner organisations.

Its first project will be a collaboration with Scottish Opera on Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Greek, which is running as part of this year’s Edinburgh International Festival.

Opera Ventures will work in the UK as well as internationally.

Berry said: “It’s been a dream to create this charity for many years and I’ve been wanting to find a way to put something back into the UK opera business for some time now. I’ve been working on this charity for 18 months and I am thrilled the first project is about to happen, with more productions in development.”

“Putting philanthropy directly on to the stage rather than into an institution, while keeping fixed costs at a minimum, is central to our vision. Now that we are established, the real fundraising starts,” he added.

Berry said he would announce further details about the company and its international partners later in the year.

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