Breaking: Greece cancels opera

Breaking: Greece cancels opera


norman lebrecht

July 10, 2015

The Athens Festival has called off a Carmen production due to open in the last week of July. A website announcement says:

The Greek National Opera, due to the current situation, announces the postponement of the production of “Carmen” which was scheduled to be performed for the 26,28,30,31 July at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus.

The new dates for the production will be announced soon.

Cast members have not yet been directly notified. The production was by Stephen Langridge. The role of Carmen was to have been shared between Rinat Shaham and Géraldine Chauvet.

carmen athens



  • william osborne says:

    And yet Berlin has its 3 full time opera houses and about 8 orchestras. We see the direction culture is going in the EU. This does not bode well.

  • Alexander Hall says:

    The difference between the two cities is that in the one case people have been living beyond their means for decades at the expense of others and evading taxes as a primary pursuit, and in the other the Protestant work ethic and Prussian values of hard work and fiscal discipline have enabled that city to prosper. No contest, as they say.

    • william osborne says:

      Germany has 16% of the EU’s population and produces 20% of its GDP. This is not a justification for such wide differences in wealth, nor for the undue influence Germany is playing in the EU’s economic affairs. As you note, the German worldview is too different from too many other EU members — not just Greece. If this situation remains, the union will eventually dissolve.

      • Alexander Hall says:

        Communists everywhere, and not just those in Syriza, will be delighted to read your analysis. However, taking from the rich and giving to the poor does not improve productivity or increase GDP. There has always been gross inequality in the world and there always will be, but if the money simply isn’t available it represents a mass fraud on any population to suggest otherwise. That too is the reason why orchestras in Germany have had to merge and other institutions have seen cutbacks. I would suggest, moreover, that the Germans are rather better at understanding reality than the Greeks are.

  • urania says:

    Social cuts have been made in Germany long before it became a topic in the EU zone. After reunification with East Germany it started with a tax rise which still today is in use though most former East German states are better off than the West now. Retirement money got a cut with the Euro (I think it was 23% in serveral steps), age went up to 67. In Greece now health insurance for retirements goes up from 4% to 6% – in Germany many elders have to pay up till 19%, even on interest rates and for small pensions. The Euro doubled prices of most items or even trippled them. Germanys former so called strong middle class is very upset as are young people. They just do not speak out loud, however when, it is in a way like Pegida.

    All this is not healthy and Europe is in a terrible situation. Last week my dentist had fill out a form with three question for my insurance, he asked for Euro 69 as fee. This is everywhere like this. Most elderly Germans live on their savings but the younger ones don’t have savings, never might. Housing in cities is not affordable anymore, I do think that Europe is heading into heavy waters. Mrs. Merkel is not aware of all this, she never knew a free Europe before the fall of the wall, she ‘lived over there’ has to told proudly the Queen. EU is farce, mainly transfered money into pockets which were already full. The countries who stayed out of the Euro have been very wise. Greece spoke out first and this did bring much into open. I would say that the Euro is somehow the biggest hold up in European modern history.

  • Petros LInardos says:

    Carmen is one of several performances cancelled this summer in Greece as a result of the crisis.

  • PDQ.BACH says:

    If this discussion is to have any basis, it would be interesting to lay out in the open how much public money was spent, in the past 30 years, on culture, and what proportion of this money went to building oversized concert venues at absurd prices.
    Given the structure of public funding, it would also be interesting to learn how much money was slushed, and how much reversed direction as a payback. (I have personal experience of a recording session being cancelled at the Mégaron in Athens because one exceptionally honest, and presumably naïve, concert agent was outraged at the idea of handing out paybacks, in view of the public having to pay for overpriced tickets.)

    To be absolutely blunt: Greece needs a cultural revolution, to unroot the sequels of centuries of Ottoman corruption and, before it, centuries of Byzantine irresponsibility.All the sacrifices of the long-suffering Greek people, most of them admirable individuals, would be in vain if the the baksheesh mentality is not eradicated and a culture of personal responsibility instilled. One generation may not suffice. Only if such an endeavour succeeds will Greece truly reinstalled Europe.

    And to all the doomsayers betting against the Euro:
    Remember the Union latine (Latin Monetary Union).
    It’s failure was instrumental in weakening the European fabric, before the hell of nationalism broke loose in 1914. The fault was too little integration, not too much of it.
    Oh, and there was a first Grexit, too: in 1908.

    (Read the French version, if you can, it’s far more complete.)

    • william osborne says:

      Your “blunt” comments about history are similar to the borderline racism and stereotyping common in the German press regarding Greece. Shall we talk about German history that is far more recent (both in the East and West) and draw stereotypical reasons why its acquiescence to exploitative authority should not be taken as a model for EU behavior?

      • PDQ.BACH says:

        By all means, let us have have an argumentative discussion, if Norman allows it.

        But first, let us get this clear: the current stance on budget rigour and austerity in the Eurozone is by no means typically German. It is the effect of four decades of monetarist, Thatcherite, “supply-side”, tax-adverse, anti-state ideological thumping.

        Now to your accusation of “borderline racism”:
        I won’t take that lightly.
        Not only because the term “racism” is abused ad nauseam to fend off hefty criticism one doesn’t agree with.
        I know what racism means, because half my family was in the Nazi camps. Only my father survived. I know what racism means, because the unique remnants of some in my family are broken glasses and dental protheses they weren’t even allowed to put on before they were deported. Just because they were deemed “Untermenschen” by the “Herrenrasse”.
        I don’t know about you, but I tend to be damned careful with accusations of racism.

        About Greece: I also happen to have Greek ancestors. I love the country and its people. I have friends there. I studied the history of its civilisation, its language and its customs. When Greece joined the European Union, I had high hopes.
        Seeing what happened in Greece, year after year after year, I came to the sad conclusion that, nowadays, nothing short of a cultural sea-change can empower the Greeks to overcome the handicaps of their history. And, as I said, even such a revolution won’t happen overnight.
        After all these years, I’ve come to understand why my Greek ancestors left their native land: they sought a fair chance to work, create, and reap the fruits of their endeavours.
        That’s a chance all Greeks deserve. Past and present governments and the structure of their society have not helped them, to say the least.

  • GONZALEZ says:

    The new dates for the production SHOULD be announced in about 10 years from now!
    What a disgrace the case of the Greeks is, after being those who founded the western civilization thousands of years ago.

  • william osborne says:

    Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman writes in the NYT about the hysteria that has evolved in Germany about Greece’s economic problems:

    “…this Eurogroup list of demands is madness. The trending hashtag ThisIsACoup is exactly right. This goes beyond harsh into pure vindictiveness, complete destruction of national sovereignty, and no hope of relief. It is, presumably, meant to be an offer Greece can’t accept; but even so, it’s a grotesque betrayal of everything the European project was supposed to stand for. […] The European project — a project I have always praised and supported — has just been dealt a terrible, perhaps fatal blow. And whatever you think of Syriza, or Greece, it wasn’t the Greeks who did it.”

    Perhaps it’s best for the Euro zone to dissolve. No one signed on for the EU to be led by Germany, something that would never work because Germanic values are too far removed from the EU norm. Krugman’s complete comment is here:

    • Greg Hlatky says:

      It’s the last scene from McTeague. Europe handcuffed to the corpse of Greece, standing in the middle of Death Valley with no water and no horse.