Thursday, October 15, 2020

Controversy over £85,000 grant to 17-year-old opera patron at Bonkers Hall

One of the beneficiaries of money from the Culture Recovery Fund hereabouts was Nevill Holt Opera.

It has its own little opera house in the former stables of Nevill Holt Hall, the stately home that many academics believe to be the model for Bonkers Hall.

So I was interested to see this from Norman Lebrecht on his Slipped Disc blog:

We’re hearing cries of ‘foul!’ over a £100,000 Arts Council handout to Nevill Holt Opera in the Midlands.

Nevill Holt was founded by Tory donor and Boris pal David Ross on his estate in Leicestershire.

Ross, 55, is chairman of the National Portrait Gallery and the Royal Opera House in London.

Last month, he handed over the running of Nevill Holt Opera, giving the title ‘patron’ to his son, Carl, perhaps to avoid any suspicion of conflict with his own ROH role.

Carl is 17 and still at school. He has just accepted a lavish Arts Council cheque for £85,000.

Lebrecht concludes that "Something’s not quite kosher here."

I don't know about that - this Twitter thread from Nevill Holt Opera looks like a reply to critics of this grant - but it does sound more Darren Grimes than Peter Grimes.

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