The Saxon arts minister Minister Sabine von Schorlemer held a press conference today with the Staatskapelle music director Christian Thielemann in an attempt to dispel any confusion over her sacking of the Semper Oper director, Serge Dorny.
The minister said Dorny had emailed her with a long list of changes he wanted to make – to the company’s logo, marketing, the programming of the Staatskapelle, and more. In the email, he apparently threatened to resign if his demands were not met. When no agreement could be reached with him, the minister said, Dorny was given notice.
‘I would have preferred it if the affair could have been settled quietly and in mutual agreement. But that was impossible after the last meeting which I don’t want to go into further,’ said von Schorlemer.
She added that working with Dorny had proved more difficult that envisaged and that he had spoken badly of Semper employees.
Thielemann said that relations between him and Dorny had initially been ‘cordial’. They shared common interests, such as wine. However, when Dorny opposed plans to stage a new Ring over the 2015-17 seasons, ‘I was speechless…’ He added: ‘Lyon is a different world. He’s president there and has all the power.’
Asked about his own role in Dresden, Thielemann said he was contracted to conduct 15 times a season. ‘I feel very comfortable in the Semper Oper,’ he added.
UPDATE: Von Schorlemer later told MDR television that Dorny issued her with an ultimatum: either she agree to all of his conditions or he’ll quit. She said he acted like he was the Sun King, without any consideration for the Semperoper team.
Thielemann also told MDR: ‘I ascertained that he wasn’t interested in working together. While we shared a Schnitzel and a glass of wine privately, he went to the minister afterwards and asked her to disempower me. I don’t know if that’s really such a fortunate way to behave.’