We hear rumblings from Ghent, where the international bass-baritone Gidon Saks has been informed in mid-term that the university will not apply for a renewal of his work permit.
His place is being taken by a nondescript local teacher. Students and faculty are unhappy. Apparently, this part of a new policy of Belgianisation.
UPDATE: We have received this message from one of Mr Saks’s foreign students:
…Mr. Saks told us from beginning of first semester that he was struggling with his contract, and that it always happened since he first arrived to the school 9-10 years ago. In spite of that, he continued to work with us in the Opera Workshop (if you can call it like that, when we even don’t have a pianist and have to go seek STUDENT’S collaboration), where at the end he worked as director, vocal coach, hair dresser, make up designer, style assistant, lightning director, and even fell from some stairs trying to put something onstage and resulting with a swollen knee that was already gone through surgery, and with a wobbly pace for some weeks.
A punctual man, who was always willing to work with the students. Who is willing to give us two voice lessons per week, when the school just pays him one. He didn’t have to do all that extra work! He didn’t have to be teaching us extra hours! He didn’t have to stay from 9am to 6pm almost without a break just to teach everyone who is willing to work with him! That is called passion, and aim to help young singers. That is something that unfortunately is not found in all teachers, and sometimes lesser in the ones who ask a 150-200 fee!!!
I want my teacher back, and I am happy you posted that note, and I hope it gets viral and overcomes the stupid laws of the Belgian government. What the school says is he wasn’t granted a working permit renewal because he didn’t have a title (BA, MA, even high school diploma). But, SO WHAT????? What about all the work he has done in those past 9 years?? Why they didn’t cared about his titles the years before? Why now????