....or plain karma?
Last week, the Board of Directors of the Greek National Opera proposed unanimously to the Greek minister of Culture the termination of the cooperation with the opera's current General Director. He is soon gone. You can find four articles on this matter (in Greek), here, here, here, and here. As you can notice -if not, I'll explain, all of them are positive on him, and the journalists rather wonder why he has to leave.
Mr Stefanos Lazaridis is a renowned designer and director, according to his CV at least. I don't know much about his past, and in any case this is not the point of this post. He started however, his duties there in the wrong way. Got in to fights with most of the employees, or employee groups, got the opera a fine of 40.000€ for construction works without licence (a bit dangerous...), showed some arrogance, and stopped the operetta shows -the only kind of opera worldwide that gathers still audiences without problems- in order to start ballet performances. I have nothing against ballet, but Athens is neither Paris, nor Berlin, not even Saint-Petersburg... Very doubtful whether Greeks -or Athenians- would spend 40-60€/couple/evening for ballet on a long-term basis. I wasn't even there to watch any of his projects, yet, many opera funs here and there didn't like the results of his work.
Now this week, another General Director quit his job, he resigned, the Finnish National Opera's Director Erkki Korhonen. A press release was already posted in the official website of the opera. (the one of the Greek Opera is not yet updated...). Nobody can know for sure what happened there, but it was a turbulent 2006 and spring 2007 for them. Things went apparently wrong the last couple of seasons. The financial year 2006 was over with a surplus of 5000€, only after an anonymous donation of 500.000€ at the last moment. That means, without it the opera would be minus for about half a million euros. I don't know much about opera management -I just learn a bit- but in any enterprise after this kind of results, many people get fired... nevertheless, not there. The rumours and noise about it however, brought many buyers close to the opera, meaning they sold more tickets than the expected. Other situations included some fights with the general music director and the like...
They already have a new model of management since June 15th, here. It is funny though, how the General Music Director Mikko Franck, who resigned from his post last February -but remained chief conductor, is now stronger in the new model. He is by the way just 28 years old...
Once again, a question raises: is opera unmanageable? Tuomas Auvinen PhD did this question for his thesis -no obvious answer to trace there; but I guess the answer is probably negative.