Tony Hall (photo: Rex Features)
Tony Hall (photo: Rex Features)

Hall to leave Opera House

Published November 22, 2012

Royal Opera House Chief Executive, Tony Hall, is to leave the flagship venue to become the new Director General of the BBC. He will take up the his new position in March 2013.

The move comes following the resignation of George Entwistle earlier this month after Newsnight wrongly accused Lord McAlpine of child abuse.

Speaking about the announcement, Simon Robey, Chairman of the Covent Garden institution’s Board of Trustees, said: “I was not surprised when the BBC turned to Tony to lead them through their current difficulties. They see, as we do, his qualities of leadership and his depth of relevant experience. I can think of nobody better able to bring stability back to the BBC. Tony has been a truly distinguished Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House. He has been a tremendous and inspiring force for good. The ROH he will leave in March is very different to the one he took over in 2001. We have a world-class senior team, both artistic and non-artistic, led by Antonio Pappano, Kasper Holten and Kevin O’Hare. Our artistic standards and reputation have never been higher and are unsurpassed around the world.

“We will turn immediately to finding a worthy successor. I am confident that this exceptional place will continue to be led by an exceptional person.”

Hall has a long history with the BBC, joining the company in 1973 after graduating from Oxford. He rose through the ranks to become Director of News, launching Radio 5 Live, BBC News 24 and BBC New Online, but lost out to Greg Dyke when he first applied for the position of Director General in 1999.

Since joining the Royal Opera House in 2001, he has promoted and supported new artists and new audiences through schemes including ROH2, big screen relays, Paul Hamblyn matinees and cinema screenings.

Antonio Pappano, Music Director of The Royal Opera commented: “Tony has been the most wonderful advocate for both the Royal Opera House and opera more generally.  He has grabbed every opportunity to enable us to get opera way beyond the Opera House auditorium into homes and cinemas around the world. 

“He’s been a great friend and colleague and whilst this is a fantastic opportunity for him to return to the BBC – and I can think of no better person for the BBC – we will miss him hugely here.”