It's been a long wait, but English National Opera has finally put an end to the guessing and announced Daniel Kramer as its new artistic director with effect from 1 August 2016.

British-American Kramer is hardly a conventional choice. He first directed Harrison Birtwistle's Punch and Judy for ENO back in 2008, and later a controversial staging of Bartók's one-act opera Bluebeard's Castle. Currently he is rehearsing the company's new production of Wagner's Tristan and Isolde, conducted by former ENO Music Director Edward Gardner and designed by Anish Kapoor.

As a theatre director, Kramer helmed the west end revival of Martin Sherman's Bent starring Alan Cumming and Headlong's acclaimed revival of Tony Kushner's Angels in America. He has been an associate at both the Gate and Young Vic Theatres.

Daniel Kramer
Daniel Kramer

In a statement, Kramer sets forth his general aims but avoids sharing any firm plans for the future. "My intention is to champion this [ENO] family and to inspire audiences night after night with a thrilling programme of musical diversity, attracting audiences from opera to operetta through to popular music. We will work, too, with the wider community outside the Coliseum, to develop emerging talent and new audiences."

The ENO chairman Harry Brunjes has given the new artistic director his unequivocal backing. "We went through an extremely thorough appointment process and Daniel was unanimously chosen as the exceptional individual from a very strong field of candidates." Sharing the delight, chief executive Cressida Pollock adds "I look forward to working closely with Daniel as we transform the organisation and engage new audiences with our wonderful work both at our home in the Coliseum as well as further afield".

The opera world turns notoriously slowly, so the 2018-19 season will be the first that Daniel Kramer programmes as artistic director. It has been confirmed that the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons will be programmed by ENO's caretaker "Senior Artistic Team", no doubt in the hope that Kramer will then be able to take over at a time of more stable financial and artistic health for the troubled company.