Through the whole world, not to say through the whole Europe, Ópera is living tough times. And its not sourprising. This unique and helplessly expensive show, which is Opera, needs heavy funds since involves, somehow, pretty much every form of art in it.
The Teatro Real seems to be condemned to suffer a strike on September which would mean the cancellation of the two Arnold Schoenberg´s Moises and Aaron Opera concerts, and a loss of 1,200.000 Euro. A total nonsense for the Teatro Real accounts as its been stated by the President of the cometee Ivan Ortega who also blames Gerard Mortier for this. Ortega wonders how its posible to start the opera season with these two more-than-one-million-worth concerts while redundancies and salary cut-downs are being discussed and the well knowned 1,000.000 euro debt is meant to be collected from deducting 5% of each theatre workers´ salary (which was suposed to have been done some time ago) .
It is expected that at the beginning of the new season, the government will demand cut-downs on these “luxurious” expenses, including Mortier´s salary. As expensive as his compensation may be, it is more expensive to keep him, his expenses and the repulse he causes among the Spanish audience.
What makes this even worse, is the rise of cultural shows taxes which will mean even less potential audience. This is part of Culture Minister Mr. Wert´s duty.
In Barcelona´s Liceu we find more of the same. Strikes announced for October. There are rumors of redundancies and before these become oficial, there will be cut-downs on other things.
The Valencia´s Palau de les Arts is also going through money difficulties. The fact that a comunity which is asking for support to the Central State is wasting all this money in Opera makes no sense at all. There´s rumours that the season will start with a two-month-delay and there is no schedule made oficial yet.
Bilbao´s ABAO has just announced that the increase in the above mentioned taxes will raise the price of their tickets to keep the season´s high standards up to their actual level. An so are the majority of the Opera theatres, doomed to shut down.
In Europe, the Wien´s Opera season is in the eye of the hurricane as its government demands for a 10 million euro cut-down. However, the situation there is different, but still, its director, Franz Welser-Moest does not seem to be the right person for cut-downs: A recent audit has shown as result that a save of 6,7 million euro can be done. As well, this theatre has been unable to adapt itself to modern times and can not count on facilities to forecast live Opera like New York´s MET, London´s Covent Garden or Madrid´s Teatro Real do.
Culture is not a frivolity, is the base of the common society and if it is not regulated properly and supported as it deserves, we may escape the crisis but we will surely enter a deeper and tougher to fight one, the crisis of the values which enhance and give prestige to a society and to a country.