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Jobs to be cut at RDB?


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44 replies to this topic

#31 Eva Kistrup

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 12:22 PM

In Danish terms redundancy means leaving your job either as being layoff or making an agreement to leave. Layoff is being fired without any degree of voluntarity.
The way the dancer are employeed direct that if a dancer accept to leave the post by their own action they will not get the full pension. They have to be in the position of saying I did not agree to leave. That is why the management must fire them whereas the opera singers can negosiate a retirement package

#32 Helene

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 03:15 PM

Many thanks!

#33 Jane Simpson

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 01:11 PM

As a result of the cuts, the new director of the Danish Royal Opera, Keith Warner, has resigned today after less than one season in the job. He gives as his reason that he is 'unable to realise his great dreams for the Opera'.

#34 Helene

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 02:01 PM

Like Pamela Rosenthal at San Francisco Opera and Gerard Mortier at New York City Opera before him.

I'm not sure where, in this economy, one realizes one's great dreams, unless one has a sponsor as wealthy as Kekhman, but, oh, wait: Kekhman wants to use his money to realize his dreams.

#35 Jane Simpson

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 09:15 AM

Keith Warner's farewell speech to the opera company (in English):

http://politiken.dk/...s-tale-engelsk/

Wow.

(Sorry, I know this isn't ballet, but it is so close to the RDB that I think it ought to be here! The bit where I don't quite follow him is where he says one saving could be made by having the orchestra play for fewer ballet evenings ...)

#36 Helene

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 09:37 AM

Wow, I wonder how that will play in Denmark. His message here is a lot different than not realizing his vision. I'm surprised that working in 50 opera houses over 30 years he never encountered the institutional/bureaucratic issues of a state theater, but, perhaps, in other roles he was shielded from it.

Not playing for the ballet, though: those are fighting words.

#37 Jayne

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 12:01 PM

I asked for the right to look at the orchestra playing for less ballet evenings. This would internally save overtime costs; I asked, remember, as the head of the orchestra, not head of the opera and was told it couldn’t be considered...


Overtime pay is the root of his request to examine playing fewer ballet evenings. I don't think he is trying to disrespect the ballet art form.

I read his entire letter, as you'd expect of someone working in the Opera art form, there is a lot of drama in the workplace, on stage, and in his letter. But if you can read his letter and look for the major points - he was given all the responsibility, but no authority. Other people were dictating to him how to cut costs, when other AD's have more authority to look at other cost savings in sets, minimizing overtime pay, etc. It does seem to me that the Europeans have been slow and snobby about finding corporate sponsorships and aggressively fundraising. The financial crisis has been going on for more than 4 years now and not difficult to forsee. Ballet in the US has adjusted by adding more "warhorse" story ballets that attract families, renegotiating contracts, etc.

We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.

So said Benjamin Franklin in the Continental Congress just prior to signing the Declaration of Independence. It seems to me the Royal Opera, Ballet, Chorale, Orchestra and Theater are all hanging separately.

#38 Helene

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 01:26 PM

Overtime pay is the root of his request to examine playing fewer ballet evenings. I don't think he is trying to disrespect the ballet art form.

He didn't write that he should choose operas with lighter scores using less instruments to cut costs, or that the opera should be performed to piano accompaniments or string quartets. Somehow, though, the ballet should go on without live music? Why isn't the opera responsible for overtime costs, when the majority of operas produced by the theater last as long or longer than the average ballet performance? RDB isn't performing the reconstructed 3+-hour "Sleeping Beauty." "Swan Lake" isn't longer than "The Flying Dutchman", for example.

But if you can read his letter and look for the major points - he was given all the responsibility, but no authority. Other people were dictating to him how to cut costs, when other AD's have more authority to look at other cost savings in sets, minimizing overtime pay, etc.

European opera houses, which had been state-sponsored and primarily funded by governments in the 20th century, are well-known for being nightmares in which government politics, including political appointments of non-arts people, as well as lifer-bureacrats rear their ugly heads and have the actual authority in the theaters and wide decision-making powers. Where there is an overall theater administration covering opera and/or dance and/or theater, it's even worse. This shouldn't be news to anyone accepting an appointment at one of the major European theaters. And that doesn't even take into consideration unions, which are prominent in some countries.

It does seem to me that the Europeans have been slow and snobby about finding corporate sponsorships and aggressively fundraising.

It's not part of the culture in Europe, where taxes -- income and 15-25+% VAT is included in the purchase price -- are extremely high and the arts have been a birthright. Businesses want a return for their donations. Sports sponsorships give them broader audiences, and businesses don't have the social incentives to donate like they do in North America, where boards are prominent, and getting their executives nominated for board positions is good for bidness.

Even in North America, the truism is that it takes several generations before philanthopy takes hold. (For all of the complaining about how the rich Microsofties weren't donating back their fair share, one of Gates' best initiatives was to get people whose families weren't donors, or only donated to their churches, to donate millions each year to 501-c-3 organizations, which were matched up to $12K per employee per year.) It's not likely that philanthropy is likely to sprout suddenly, and scrambling businesses' first thoughts are generally not the arts.

People like Vilar, Koch, and Kekhman get huge bang for their (relatively small) buck, and in Vilar's case, not even his buck, by "saving" arts institutions. Russia not only was in a crisis after the Soviet Union fell, it was chaotic. Gergiev gauged the situation immediately and jumped on the fund-raising bandwagon early and often. Most of Europe is not at that point of chaos/opportunity.

#39 Anne

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 10:08 AM

The crisis in the RDB has blown up again with full force. Dancers and actors have written an open letter to the board, in which they say that they have lost confidence in the management. They have asked for a meeting with the board, which they had this morning, though not with the board alone, as they had asked for, but with the management present as well.
The critic is especially directed against the ballet master Nikolaj Hübbe and the theatre director Erik Jacobsen, among many other things because of their handling of the lay offs earlier in January.

A google translated page from the Danish paper "Politiken" gives some more details, (though one has to live with the many funny translations): Politiken article

#40 checkwriter

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 07:07 PM

An unfortunate tactic, in my opinion. By sharing their 'no-confidence' letter with the press, the artists immediately escalate the dispute to a 'crisis' level before giving management a fair chance to deal with it internally. It doesn't help their cause any, particularly in a country where (as here) layoffs by the thousands are reported in the press weekly. One wonders exactly what they want. Part of the problem may be that in Hubbe they have a director who brings with him a kind of work ethic and insistence on quality that was missing in some of the past directors. No one likes it when their flaws are pointed out . . . at least until they overcome them.

#41 Helene

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 07:28 PM

Of course, we don't know what internal discussions came before this letter was published. Just as we can speculate that the dancers don't want to work hard or to Hubbe's standards, we can also speculate that they have legitimate complaints, artistically and management-related.

#42 puppytreats

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 06:28 PM

Moderators, please move this to another forum if it is more appropriate.

"In Europe, Where Art Is Life, Ax Falls on Public Financing"
http://www.nytimes.c...html?ref=europe

#43 diane

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 01:31 AM

Thanks for that link! It is fascinating and frustrating and sad.

There are several (ballet) ensembles in Germany right now which may not exist in one to two more years. These are not just the "smaller" companies, either.

This jumped out at me from the article:

In the case of the Netherlands, the culture budget is being cut by about $265 million, or 25 percent, by the start of 2013, and taxes on tickets to cultural events are to rise to 19 percent from 6 percent, although movie theaters, sporting events, zoos and circuses are exempted.


What the....??!

Weird.

-d-

#44 Amy Reusch

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 04:03 PM

Wow! And I thought the Dutch were the wealthiest...

And WHY are sports, Movies, zoos and circuses exempt?

#45 diane

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 02:14 AM

It is all politics, Amy.

Lobbyists abound.

-sigh-

-d-


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