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Norway loses opera chief

June 7, 2011 by Norman Lebrecht

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Paul Curran has quit as head of Norway’s National Opera.

The Scotsman has been under criticism for failing to commission local composers. Has any of them written a compelling opera or ballet? You tell me. Here’s the full story.


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  1. Angela Rodion says:

    I’m appalled by this development. I’ve been to the new opera house at Bjørvika several times since it opened and have followed the recent events with interest. Curran raised the standards of Den Norske Opera very quickly and I was more than happy to add a place I had hitherto ignored to my operatic itinerary. It seems to me that Curran has been a victim of what is known in Scandinavia as the Junte Law, which is best summarised as ” Don’t think you’re anyone special or that you’re better than us.” If I am correct it must be very hard to have a single vision for an opera company there. An Australian friend of mine commented that the opera house in Oslo will end up like the one in Sydney: “A building the tourists flock to photograph, but rarely buy tickets to shows, and the companies that perform there revel in their own back-patting mediocrity.”

    Does the parochial little team of Norwegian composers whose work Curran has declined to fill his planned seasons with think they are going to fare any better under a new director? With all Norway’s wealth, [and God its expensive in Oslo, I started to take sandwiches with me for weekend trips there,] why doesn’t the Composers Union of Norway get the government to build a “Norwegian Opera” company that only performs these new works?


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