International artists protest opera chief’s dismissal

A group of 16 opera personalities have sent an open letter to Norway’s minister of culture, appealing for her to reinstate Norway Opera’s artistic director Per Boye Hansen, whose contract has been terminated after a single term.

The appellants include the country’s most successful opera director, Stefan Herheim, and the Italian baroque conductor, Rinaldo Alessandrini. Text follows.

 

oslo lift

picture: performance in the Oslo Opera elevator

 

Dear Madam Minister,
We, the undersigned artists – conductors and directors – are addressing this appeal to you because we are extremely concerned about the current developments at the Norwegian National Opera in Oslo.
We are all very proud of having been part of the artistic boom of the Norwegian National Opera since the appointment of Per Boye Hansen as Artistic Director.
After having aroused worldwide attention with the construction of a new opera house, it was only consistent to appoint an Artistic Director who will be capable to make the Norwegian National Opera one of the leading opera ensembles beyond Scandinavia. Per Boye Hansen has achieved this most successfully.
In the past two years, Per Boye Hansen has not only attracted international attention with convincing productions at the Norwegian National Opera, but has also remarkably committed himself to the support of the next generation of Norwegian and Scandinavian singers.
We do clearly consider Per Boye Hansen as one of the most renowned opera directors in Scandinavia and one of the most competent cultural managers throughout Europe.
Norway is lucky that such a renowned and internationally experienced artist has decided to return to Norway in order to devote all his creative energy to the development of the opera of his homeland.
It is therefore completely incomprehensible to every European observer of the cultural scene why such a positive development is to be interrupted at the very moment when his successful efforts are visibly bearing fruits internationally.
Madam Minister, we deeply hope that this worrying trend can still be reversed in order to avert imminent harm to the Norwegian and European cultural landscape.
Yours faithfully,
Rinaldo Alessandrini
Calixto Bieito
Baldur Brönnimann
Antonino Fogliani
Fabien Gabel
James Gaffigan
Tatjana Gürbaca
Stefan Herheim
Andreas Homoki
Enrique Mazzola
Alexander Mørk-Eidem
Francisco Negrin
Àlex Ollé (La Fura Dels Baus)
Sigrid Strøm Reibo
Ole Anders Tandberg
Pierre-André Valade

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  • It is only his friends who were getting paycheck during Hansens leadership who have signed the letter. The whole staff in the Norwegian opera are against him. The house doesn’t have a music director, level of the guest conductors is catastrophic and the stagings have become Calixto Bieito-style regietheater. Casting of the singers lacks competence. All of that is Hansens fault. And, he wasted nearly 5 million dollars to a single production (Peer Gynt).

  • All signed parties with whom he greases or has greased for contracts and jobs. a club who believes to be competent but are using the business to fill their pockets, however this is not true for all on the list but most of them. They don’t want Music Directors because the ones with brains are trying to put back in Opera what has been ruined by this bunch.

    More houses should do the same especially the ones with BIG MONEY.

  • He fired a completely competent and fantastic casting director (Anne Gjevang) the musical director Jon Fiore left i believe because Hansen again wanted to dictate something he doesnt have the skills to do and thought he thought he knew better than Fiore who is an international conductor. Most at the Norwegian opera are pleased of this decision -the chorus,the orchestra and many soloists. What opera house in the world runs with no casting director,no musical director etc?

  • Although I do not have an opinion about the Per Boye Hansen-affair; the list of people having signed the letter can’t be taken seriously. They are ALL associated with Mr Hansen and have, or will, receive fees for engagements at the Norwegian National Opera

    Rinaldo Alessandrini
    Has been and will be engaged as conductor at the Norwegian National Opera

    Calixto Bieito
    Has been and will be engaged as stage director at the Norwegian National Opera

    Baldur Brönnimann
    Has been and will be engaged as conductor at the Norwegian National Opera

    Antonino Fogliani
    Has been engaged as conductor at the Norwegian National Opera

    Fabien Gabel
    Has been engaged as conductor at the Norwegian National Opera

    James Gaffigan
    Is engaged as conductor at the Norwegian National Opera

    Tatjana Gürbaca
    Has been engaged as stage director at the Norwegian National Opera

    Stefan Herheim
    Has been and will be engaged as stage director at the Norwegian National Opera

    Andreas Homoki
    Has been and will be engaged as stage director at the Norwegian National Opera. One of Per Boye Hansen’s closest friends

    Enrique Mazzola
    Has been engaged as conductor at the Norwegian National Opera

    Alexander Mørk-Eidem
    Is engaged as stage director at the Norwegian National Opera

    Francisco Negrin
    Has been engaged as stage director at the Norwegian National Opera

    Àlex Ollé (La Fura Dels Baus)
    Has been engaged as stage director at the Norwegian National Opera

    Sigrid Strøm Reibo
    Has been engaged as stage director at the Norwegian National Opera

    Ole Anders Tandberg
    Has been engaged as stage director at the Norwegian National Opera

    Pierre-André Valade
    Has been engaged as conductor at the Norwegian National Opera

    Anders: “fantastic casting director (Anne Gjevang)”. In my opinion her casting was absolutely disastrous. The casting at the moment leaves room for improvement, but to Mr Hansen’s and his adviser (Pal Moe) credit they at least use Norwegian singers to a much greater extent.

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