chapter  4
44 Pages

. . . and off: The opera commissioning scheme

The ill-fated scheme to commission new operas on the basis of an open competition was the most ambitious of all the commissions, grants, concert series, and other cultural events sponsored or produced by the Arts Council for the Festival of Britain. With this high-profile plan, the Arts Council confidently aimed to tap into the new postwar enthusiasm for opera and coax into being a decisive con - tribution to the national repertory. Furthermore, while far from the most expen - sive of the Arts Council’s undertakings for the Festival, it was the most extended; from conception through final judgments the meetings and decision-making went on for almost four years.