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Music director quits national opera over imminent budget cuts

January 22, 2016 by norman lebrecht

7 comments.


Slovakia has been shaken by the resignation of Friedrich Haider as music director of the national opera in the capital, Bratislava. The company is particularly popular with Viennese who, for a short bus ride across the border, can enjoy high-class performances at a fraction of the price they normally pay.

friedrich haider

Friedrich Haider, who will step down in June, makes no mention of cuts in his official resignation letter, but media contacts have been given to understand that he has been dismayed by reports of forthcoming cuts and has decided that he cannot run the opera house on a lower budget.


Comments (7)

  1. Peter says:

    The forthcoming cuts are reality and Mr. Haider used them as a “noble reason” to explain his resignation. But of course, this is not a real reason.
    Truth is that he has more and more conflicts with members of the orchestra and singers in the theater too.
    He cared about these productions, where he was participate as a conductor but he refused take care about most of other productions. He even refused attend all other rehersals (but he was music director of the theater, it was his job to care about all productions of the theater).
    When some media start to be critical to this Haider’s attitude, he has issued threat of legal action against one of the journalist. He even called to his work several times and very strictly asked him again and again to come to his office. When that journalist finally came to Haiders office, he was threaten him again there.
    These fact are known. So we must judge Haiders resignation in the spectrum of all of these informations and not only as a result of financial cuts from the government.

    1. Peter says:

      Since when is it a music directors job, to attend all the rehearsals of opera productions, even if he doesn’t conduct them? No wonder he ran into problems, if such unworldly ideas exist in Bratislava.

  2. Peter says:

    The forthcoming cuts are reality and Mr. Haider used them as a “noble reason” to explain his resignation. But of course, this is not a real reason.
    Truth is that he has more and more conflicts with members of the orchestra and singers in the theater too.
    He cared about these productions, where he was participate as a conductor but he refused take care about most of other productions. He even refused attend all other rehersals (but he was music director of the theater, it was his job to care about all productions of the theater). Media starts to be critical last days.
    So we must judge Haiders resignation in the spectrum of all of that and not only as a result of financial cuts from the government.

  3. Don Ciccio says:

    “The company is particularly popular with Viennese…”

    Not to mention with Slovaks.

    1. Anon says:

      From personal experience I can echo what Peter said. Mr. Haider never attended other rehearsals even for productions which were having difficulty and requested his input. He only stirred up conflict, and a recent conductor (Tomas Hanus) quitting shortly before the premiere of Janacek’s Makropulos Case was only 1 publically visible sign of the problems there. There were other similar affairs that may never be allowed to be made public about other cancellations …

      1. Peter says:

        Sounds like the typical provincial “much ado about nothing” really.

  4. Silvia Smrcka says:

    Never ever before the opera of Slovak National Theatre had such a high level – no doubt thanks to the work of Friedrich Haider.
    And of course, there are always small minded, envious people, who try to “expand ” their miserable “competence” by devaluating such a successful work and inventing cock-and-bull stories…


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