Will OSB crisis undercut Rio's cultural ambitions?

The city of Rio de Janeiro is doubling its culture budget from $33 to $66 million, challenging the capital Brasilia for creative leadership.

The plans include a renewal of the Cidade da Musica, abandoned in mid-construction.

But who will play there if the Brazil Symphony Orchestra cannot resolve its dispute with the musicians it sacked and leading soloists maintain their boycott?

Here’s a report in The Arts Newspaper.

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  • Enough has been written about OSB and its future. As for Cidade da Musica, I think it is very important for readers of this blog who have followed the OSB conundrum, for the general public and classical music lovers, to understand what this so called Cidade da Musica really is. At first I thought it would be something similar to the Cité de la Musique in Paris. Well, I´m sad to admit that I was wrong. Fortunately there is Google translation for those who don´t understand Portuguese.

    http://semibreves.wordpress.com/2010/07/19/o-monstrengo-da-barra-1/

    http://semibreves.wordpress.com/2010/07/21/o-monstrengo-da-barra-2/

    http://semibreves.wordpress.com/2010/07/23/o-monstrengo-da-barra-3/

  • Norman, the problem in Rio goes much deeper than the OSB crisis, who apparently will no longer operate from within Cidade da Musica. The OSB and the Opera House only close their seasons 2 or 3 months before they start. The lack of long term planning has resulted in a lot of misspent public money, such as full page ads in major newspapers for events with half empty halls.

    When asked about the future of the OSB, Nelson Freire’s reply to newspaper O GLOBO was “Which OSB? the one made with the musicians who were fired? The OSB with the musicians who remained or the OSB with the musicians they are hiring?”

    Rio’s musical life urgently needs dedicated leaders!

  • Now Cidade da Música is named Cidade das Artes (City of Arts) and the plan is to settle there a kind of Lincoln Centre as in NYC, aimed to several arts –music, dance, theatre, visual arts, movies and so far. That was a very polemic project developed by the previous government. But this government now is trying to give a valuable destiny to that. So it will be NOT only a Brazilian Symphony Orchestra place and management… In relation to your query, I shall say that Rio´s cultural ambitions will be prove to be fair enough, beautiful enough, despite of a group of people who doesn´t care about Rio´s cultural life, Rio´s music life, Brazil´s classical music, I mean, Brazil at all…. Cariocas are better than ever… All the best! AC STARK

  • Of course, in both OSB and the opera house Theatro Municipal the musical director is/was Roberto Minczuk. On the board of trustees of both institutions there is also the name of David Zilberstajn. Another interesting fact is that Fransisco Mussnik, who is in the board of trustees of OSB and works for a law firm that represents one of brazilians most reverberant financial scandals of the last times, that of the opportunity bank (http://tupiwire.wordpress.com/2008/07/17/dantas-inferno-central-bank-knocks-opportunity-laundry-controls/), Mr. Mussnick is also at the board that organizes the future Rio’s Olimpic games…

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