LONDON — Daniel Kramer has resigned as artistic director of English National Opera, the company said on Wednesday, just two weeks after he announced the program for his second season in the role.
Mr. Kramer will leave at the end of July to focus on directing, the company said in a statement. But he will act as a consultant until the end of the year on a series of four operas about the Greek myth of Orpheus in the company’s coming season.
“I am proud to leave E.N.O. after a season that has broken box office records, innovated and challenged, while delivering commercial success,” Mr. Kramer said in a statement.
Mr. Kramer’s sudden departure is the latest high-profile resignation to trouble the English National Opera, one of the two main opera companies in London. In the past 18 months its chief executive, Cressida Pollock, and Terri-Jayne Griffin, a long-serving and well-respected member of the production team, have also resigned.
Arts Council England, the body that distributes funding for the British government, has significantly reduced the company’s grant. The music director Mark Wrigglesworth stood down after a hefty cut in 2016. The company has turned to renting its home out to other productions to make up the shortfall.
Mr. Kramer, an American director, had never held a position at an opera house before his appointment in August 2016, but he was brought in to revamp the organization. “I could see they needed a leader who had some of the maps to come out of trauma into forward motion,” he said in an interview with The New York Times last year. “It felt like the opportunity of a lifetime,” he added.
His first season met with mixed reviews.
Anthony Tommasini, writing in The Times, hailed a production of “Porgy and Bess,” for its “emotional depth and belief in the characters.” It is transferring to the Metropolitan Opera in September. But that production was planned by Mr. Kramer’s predecessor. A production of “Jack The Ripper: The Women of Whitechapel,” which focused on the Victorian murderer’s victims, fared less well. The critic Hugh Canning called it “an intriguing failure” in a review in The Times of London.
A feminist reworking of “Salome” met with a similar reception. The Daily Telegraph’s critic called it “infuriatingly baffling” and “mightily pretentious,” adding, “I doubt the show’s ambience will play out well with E.N.O.’s core audience.”
In a statement earlier this month announcing the company’s new season, Mr. Kramer said, “It is important that E.N.O. continues to push the boundaries of what is possible on the operatic stage and at the same time keep bringing in new audiences who may not have considered us before.”
“It’s not surprising that he left. It was more when than if,” said John Allison, the editor of Opera magazine, in a telephone interview. Mr. Kramer was a good talker about his productions, but they often failed to deliver, Mr. Allison added.
The English National Opera should appoint a new artistic director with experience in the opera world, as this was missing from the company’s leadership team, Mr. Allison said. But he did not want to speculate on who could fill the position. “It is a bit of a poisoned chalice,” he said.
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