In addition to pioneering so-called ambient music and purveying exceptionally fine liver salts, ENO is on a long term mission, from its home, since 1968, in the capital’s premier indoor gladiatorial arena, the London Coliseum, to create “new audiences for opera through English language performances which are affordable and accessible to everyone”.

All well and good, you and I might think, Dear Reader, for those as likes such things. Except… it isn’t!

ENO has been encountering, to say the least, a spot of bother. Last year its funding was cut by almost 30%, prompting speculative dalliance with a more commercial approach aimed at luring in the punters with less challenging musical theatre offerings, better suited to those less avid to gain access to high culture of the audible variety in English or any other language.

Such outside-the-box thinking, combined with an apparent inability to please all the people all of the time, may have been the ‘wrong answer’ to ENO’s fiscal squeeze, however, as funding body Arse Council England (ACE) has now stripped it of its precious National Portfolio status (meaning that future funding is very much not to be relied upon). Sort your business model out, ACE has told ENO, or in two years’ time we’re turning off the tap.

To make matters worse, the people running ENO appear to be falling out with one another left, right and centre, and a fair number of them have actually resigned. (Bear with us, Gentle Reader, if you’re beginning to wonder what on earth any of this has to do with insurance. We’ll be getting to that just presently.)

Recognising that it needed a safe (but nimble) pair of hands to manage the many risks it faces, and possibly someone with some medical knowledge to help resuscitate the whole endeavour, ENO has turned to a man who needs no introduction to anyone in the world of insurance. Though, we may as well give him one anyway.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please give a big warm Bankstone News welcome to a gentleman, a scholar, a respected Harley Street physician, a song and dance man par excellence, a true renaissance personage of our time, polymath, entertainer, entrepreneur, and all round good bloke, Dr Henry Otto Brünjes FRSocMed, a.k.a. plain Harry Brünjes, founder of the UK’s premier medical group, Premier Medical Group, and a man so famous he gets interviewed by people like ITN’s Martyn Lewis and that Frank Skinner off the telly.

For Brunges it is to whom ENO has turned, in its hour of need, appointing him as its Acting Chairman with a brief to get things back on track and improve the supposedly insufficient dependability with which the ailing opera house has been able, of late, as ACE requires, to “delight audiences with brilliant work”.

If anyone can keep things together at the dear old ENO – at least until they can find someone else to take over full time – Harry is your man. Alongside all his other outstanding attributes, the man they call Doctor Fingers has the unique superpower-type ability, when other sources of sustenance are not available, to (quite literally) eat, drink, sleep and breathe music.

An outrageous overachiever in any number of disciplines, Harry reputedly has a piano in every room of his house in order to recharge his batteries should his tireless energy ever show the least indication of depletance.

Not everyone will want him to succeed, of course. Dark forces (probably orchestrated by evil alien race called something like The Mutons) are hell-bent on silencing the human voice wherever they find it, and hate nothing more than high-brow warbling of the live variety.

Bankstone News has not the least doubt, however, that the redoubtable Dr B will see them off, provided, of course, they never find out about his secret Achilles heel. Yes, success is more or less guaranteed, so long as the Mutons never learn that the Doc is (again, quite literally) unable to walk past a piano without stopping to knock out a tune.

A strategically arranged line of pianos deployed along his route to a critical meeting could utterly undo all ENO’s hopes of resurrection.

Don’t worry H, your secret’s safe with Bankstone News!



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