Covent Garden's new chief appeals to Government for stay of execution

Covent Garden's new chief appeals to Government for stay of execution


norman lebrecht

January 05, 2012

Kasper Holten, director of the Royal Opera in London, has written an open letter to Denmark’s Minister of Culture, imploring him to reverse the cuts at Copenhagen’s Royal Opera, where Holten was director until last year.

I’ve attached a rough translation of his opening paragraph below. Here’s the full text in Danish.

Photo: Folkver PER (archive)

Dear Uffe Elbaek My name is Kasper Holten and am the former Artistic Director at the Royal.Theatre. Although we do not know each other, I’ve always had great respect for you. For me it was good news, since you became Minister of Culture. I am sure that a man with your modern views on the importance of creativity and art is the right man in office. But I have to write you when I see what happens at the Royal Theatre now. Because I refuse to believe that it was your opinion.The new agreement for the Royal. Theatre should provide space for artistic quality, we understood. But now it is clear that it primarily means a saving of up to 31 million a year. Maybe you’ve allowed yourself to be misled by voices that say that you can easily cut to the bone, without cost to the quality . The Royal. Theatre should also save as everyone else.

Meanwhile, the theatre’s chorus, which is due to be cut from 60 to 40 singers, will stage a free concert with the orchestra this Saturday to raise awareness that Denmark is downgrading its arts and will cease to be competitive with Sweden, Norway and Finland.

The concert is at Royal Theatre, Kongens Nytorv, Copenhagen : 17 00 Saturday 7th January. Entry free. Royal Danish Orchestra and Chorus. If you’re in Copenhagen, try to get there – on skates, if necessary.