I read with interest Ken Walton’s article (12 October) on the troubles at Scottish Opera after the abrupt departure of its French artistic director Emmanuel Joel-Hornak and his rhetorical question: “What credibility as a statement of Scotland’s cultural identity would Scottish Opera have in a world where Scotland was an independent nation?”
My only surprise is that it has taken Mr Walton so long to reach this conclusion.
He is right to link national artistic organisations to the nation. But where was he when Scottish Opera and Scottish Ballet started filling positions with foreigners?
The Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) is a case in point. Ignoring musicians from south of the Border, it currently has a Hungarian, a German, a Spaniard, a Finn, a Dutchman and two Poles. Nothing against any of them, but Scottish music students studying at the Royal Conservatoire for Scotland haven’t got a cat’s chance in Hell of getting a place in the national orchestra.
A brief look at this year’s RSNO programme shows a dearth of Scottish music, or Scottish conductors or soloists.
Perhaps Mr Walton has, rightly, highlighted how watered-down we have allowed our national musical institutions to become, and that the time has come for representations to be made to each organisation to redress the balance.
Eric B Simmons