Romanian hardliners reduce Cojocaru to tears

It has become abundantly clear that the turmoil at the Bucharest National Opera is about the rise of Romanian chauvinism.

Johan Kobborg made it clear earlier today that he was fired by a conductor who insisted everyone spoke Romanian.

Outside the opera house, dancers were barracked by backstage staff who shouted ‘foreigners leave the country -this is our national opera’.

Alina Cojocaru, in tears, announced that she and 30 other dancers will leave immediately. Cojocaru, who is married to Kobborg, is the country’s star ballerina.

 

alina cojocaru tears

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  • Eddie Mars says:

    Aha, friends of Milka’s!! Thugs and morons who couldn’t give a tinker’s cuss about culture.

  • V.Lind says:

    Their national opera ain’t going to be much chop without all that foreign talent. Like every other national opera company in the world.

    Of course Romania produces fine artists. So does Canada, and Australia, and other countries not usually lined up with the “best” — the Viennas and Berlins and Londons and New Yorks. And they have good to great opera companies, too, because they open their doors and their hearts to the best talent they can attract — which only helps the young, homegrown talents develop. This kind of mindless “nationalism” — xenophobia, more likely — is a plague, on everything, and certainly on artistic development.

    • Eddie Mars says:

      100% agreed. By prioritising genetics – you have to be a native-born Romanian – over talent and ability, they have made an international jackass out of their national theatre.

      The theatre’s main stars have already left – as we read above. I see the theatre’s website is boasting co-productions with Garsington… and Shostakovich ballets staged by Alexei Ratmansky. I wonder whether Garsington and Ratmansky will pull the plug on these loathsome fascists first… or whether the nutters now in charge of the theatre will scrub the upcoming performances of non-Romanian works on their own accord?

      The best of the Romanian performers have walked out. Perhaps the theatre should now be called the Romanian Third-Rate Ethnically Pure Opera & Ballet?

  • Proud Romanian says:

    As a Romanian opera lover I have followed the entire saga via Romanian newspapers. Not a single Romanian paper has informed me that Kobborg’s departure was caused by xenophobia. Most likely it was caused by the management change, after the former management of the ONB was indicted for fraud, a situation well documented in the Romania media. The new management claimed also claimed that Kobborg refused to talk to them, in spite of contacting him via phone, emails and SMS.
    I don’t know where Lebrecht got this story but knowing Romanians, I suspect that the story is far more complex than a case of xenophobia. Romanians have a great admiration for all things foreign and most of them speak at least a couple of European languages so I seriously doubt that Kobborg was dismissed because he couldn’t speak Romanian. Also, he was living in Romania for many years and had a Romanian wife, he had enough time to pick the basics of the language.

    • Eddie Mars says:

      Then why are the crowd of thugs who are the so-called “management” of the theatre chanting “Foreigners out of the country! Foreigners out of the country!”

      Perhaps you can answer that for us???

      • Barocker says:

        The truth is in the middle.
        1) The former director, who hired Kobborg is under investigation for fraud.
        2) Kobborg didin’t cope well with the new management, which (a maybe unispired move) just wanted to take out from the site a “dancing director” title who was not official. The guy made a fuss.
        3) The minister of culture created the title (officially) for the guy (kobborg), and retrograded one of the new managers. Still, they did some sort of protest (don’t have a clue why, no one wanted ever fi fire Kobborg).
        4) Some musicians from the opera shouted “Go back home”, not “foreigners out”, which is something like a usual insult, not necesarily xenophobic. That said, the normal sallary here is like 1/30 of what Kobborg was receiving, his salary was published in a newspaper and the regular musicians here are usually treated like dirt. Not that they are good, true, but still…

      • The truth is in the middle.
        1) The former director, who hired Kobborg is under investigation for fraud.
        2) Kobborg didin’t cope well with the new management, which (a maybe unispired move or an intentioned one) wanted to take out from the site a “dancing director” title who was not official. The guy made a fuss. Probably is normal (I’m not great on understanding artistic fusses, though I’m sort of an artist myself).
        3) The minister of culture created the title (officially) for the guy (kobborg), and retrograded one of the new managers. Still, they did some sort of protest (don’t have a clue why, no one wanted ever to fire Kobborg).
        4) Some musicians from the opera shouted “Go back home”, not “foreigners out”, which is something like a usual insult, not necesarily xenophobic. That said, the normal sallary here is like 1/30 of what Kobborg was receiving, his salary was published in a newspaper and the regular musicians here are usually treated like dirt. Not that they are good, true, but still…

  • helen86420@aol.com says:

    I agree with all that has been said by the previous contributors. I very much doubt whether any of the Romanian performers agree with ousting non-Romanian artists. Artists are inspired by, motivated by, feed off, learn from, and share with each other, no matter what their nationality. This must be a sad time for them.

  • Alexander says:

    There seems to be some dispute as to the accuracy of these claims, but some of the facts are certain, and the whole affair is very sad to witness. I have seen an opera, a concert, and a ballet at the ONB, and it was the ballet that was really outstanding. The opera was a Romanian opera with an entirely Romanian cast and was decent but not memorable. The concert was pretty poor quality, though not helped by a lot of distracting behaviour among the audience. The ballet, however, was really first rate. I would not have been disappointed had I seen ballet of that quality at any of the world’s great opera houses. And, yes, a lot of the names in the programme were definitely not Romanian. But that is something of which the ONB should be proud. I would be rather disappointed if I went to the Royal Ballet and saw only British dancers. Indeed, I believe I am correct in saying that the only British principals in the Royal Ballet are Lauren Cuthbertson and Edward Watson, the rest being Cuban, Italian, Canadian, American, Brazilian, Australian, Spanish, Russian, Argentinian, and Ukrainian. If it is true that Romania is seeking to source talent only from among Romanian artists then world-class standards surely cannot be maintained: what are the chances that all of the finest dancers in the world are fortunate enough to be found among Romania’s population of less than 20 million? Perhaps more fundamentally, we cannot lose sight of the fact that ballet is an essentially international art form, indeed, more so than opera, as it is not bound by spoken language.

    • Proud Romanian says:

      I am sorry but the story is wholly inaccurate. There was no xenophobia whatsoever but change of management which Kobborg refused to acknowledge. He allegedly resigned, then tried his job back by orchestrating demonstrations in his support.

  • Proud Romanian says:

    I looked onto Romanian media and the story is completely different. Kobborg was brought by the previous management who was involved in fraud and mismanagement. After the management change, Kobborg refused to discuss with the new ONB management, for reasons yet unclear. He was not ousted by Romanian are rabid xenophobes but resigned himself, then orchestrated demonstration in his support with the help of Alina Cojocaru, his wife. The dispute is still ongoing.

    • Eddie Mars says:

      What chance is there that in the famously garbage-level “Romanian media” there would be any objective coverage of this story at all?

      Those same newspapers who used to report about all the wonderful things the “Comrade Doctor” was doing for the country?

      This is just the usual Romanian HATRED for foreigners and foreign culture which we have known and seen for years. Did you see the opera theatre staff shouting their HATRED at Alina Cojocaru???

      You are a mouthpiece for hatred and lies. I have no idea why you are “proud” – unless you are proud of hatred, xenophobia, and philistine ignorance, of course.

      • It was just an expression of anger of the poorly payed (200-300 eur/month) musicians seing this quarell of ambition from people payed 30 times better. As bad as they are, they have to be a part of the discussion. As for romanians being anti-foreigners, if so, how come all the concerts in the Enescu festival, where almost only foreigners perform, are full house? And some of the most vocal defenders of Kobborg and Cojocare are romanians. This sayd, romanians have some problems minimizing the fact that a big part of their history and culture was influenced by hungarians, germans, and turks, and greeks, and so on, , but this is not the point here.

  • Proud Romanian says:

    New Times tells doesn’t mention any chavinistic Romanians ousting Kobborg but a management conflict ending with Kobborg resignation:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/13/arts/dance/romanian-ballet-companyloses-its-leading-lights.html?_r=0

  • Elles says:

    This is more a “Black Swan” conflict. The husband of a former Romanian balet diva who lost her crown after the coming of Kobborg & Cojocaru & other important international performers, decided to put his bitter wife back, up where she belongs and in this story, once he became the director of ONB, he simply deleted the name of Kobborg from the list of employees. I found this information also in the Romanian media… On the other hand, wtf are doing these fine performens in Romania, a place from where all the brilliant minds are running?

  • Proud Romanian says:

    Anyone who blame Romanians and the ONB must remember that Kobborg and Cojocaru left Royal Opera House on a short notice, with no explanation given for their departure. Yet nobody made a song and a dance about the couple leaving. Cojocaru then went to ENO and she didn’t last long there either. Again, why? They went to ONB because probably they did not have other better offer.

    The New York Times has confirmed that Kobborg was not fired by xenophobes but resigned after a spar with the new interim management. He resigned then he wanted the job back, by making an international scandal and bringing ONB into disrepute.

    If he so sought after, why he did not quietly go into a much better place? I much suspect he doesn’t have any other offers.

    • not so proud romanian says:

      The facts of the case (gathered from the press) are reasonably simple. The former Opera Director, Razvan Dinca has been indicted for abuse Tiberiu Soare an alledgely talented conductor, who’s first act of management was to claim that the title of Artistic Director does not exist in the official structure of the Opera House (which is true but hardly the point, as the titles of prima ballerina and lead dancer dont officially exist either, but are widely used) and place the name of Jan Kobborg alphabetically at the letter K. He also stormed in the training halls screaming at everyone to speak romanian only, as this is the Romanian National opera.

      This lead to the immediate resignation of Kobborg and the obvious support of Ms Cojocaru, as you don’t treat big international stars like that.

      Then the big scandal about the alleged “ridiculous” payment of Kobbotg who is on a contract of about 7000 euro gross (5000 euro net) with the opera house. While this is 10 -20 times larger that the average salary in the opera house, it is modest for a star like Kobborg, more so as the stories abound about how he used his personal money to send Romanian dancers to Uk for back problems treatment on his own money or how he replaced the antiquated and broken flooring on the stage and training halls with proper dance flooring, which prevents injuries.

      below is a link to an interesting interview (in romanian, but google translate does miracles) by one of the young Romanian prima ballerinas, Marina Minoiu.

      http://lorenalupu.com/blog/marina-minoiu-fantomele-de-la-opera/#comments

      enjoy

  • I salute the intervention and apparition in this discussion of “not so proud romanian”. And I’d like to point the points about the pointes.
    1) The former opera director mentioned was not indicted yet. He’s under investigation under judiciary control.
    2) The former director is, until proven guilty, allegedly corrupt. The blogger who grants us his undivided attention, (despreopera – Alexandru Patrascu) is allegedly a critic. Tiberiu Soare is a professional, good, conductor. How come? Because I have no idea if “not so proud romanian” knows what’s a good conductor or not, I’ll keep it simple for him: look who’s friend with who, usually that’s a good indicator. Here is Alexandru Tomescu, playing with him, on his Stradivarius (Stradivariuses, splendid violins made by a bunch of very good violin-makers – sorry, another topic – are a good indicator of value)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGLjwyCi5II
    3) Yep, you don’t treat stars like that. Yep, it was not a very diplomatic move to put Kobborg on K. Yep, this led to the resignation of Kobborg.
    4) Stormed in the training halls? Screaming at everyone to speak romanian only? False. One of the support statements.
    https://adevaruldelaopera.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/maria-lozanovai-support-my-collegues-and-friends-from-the-bucharest-ballet-be-strong/
    5) Kobborg was reinstated, Tibi Soare demoted, and an official artistic ballet director position was granted to K. Yet, Alina Cojocaru tweets: we’ll not come back unless the previous management come back aswell. The allegedly corrupt one.
    6) The salary is of K. is not a real problem, it’s just one of the schemes to hijack the attention from the real problem: THE RIGHT TO A CORRECT MANAGEMENT. I’m sorry that in my earlier comments I debated this, I just though Kobborg to be a hugely narcisistic guy. Instead, he and Alina are used by highly cinical persons. Let me show you how:
    His statements: R o o o o mania, how do you stand this? were fed to him by a dedicate, cinical, image strategist (whomever that might be) because:
    – it resembles this, minute 1.34, best known theater piece ever in Romania
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_ieF7G-WJI
    It makes him look ridiculous.
    – it was just found that all the disinfectant used in hospitals are at 10% of the strenght required to be effective (a corruption scheme run by a romanian parlementary). People died, and a terrible fire in a rock music club who made 64 dead, is linked to this. That makes Kobborg look out of touch with reality.
    They are really cinical, the ones behind him.

    6) All people who found about, were really touched by the nice things Alina did. She brought pointes from a top brand, she help send a fellow balerina to have a treatement. The same balerina is on Je suis opera camp, now, she stated, that with a broken heart, she is not turning against Alina, but taking the defense ot truth and her unjustly smeard colleagues.
    7) The floor thing is very interesting, let me a whille, I’ll do my research and will be back on that.
    8) The interview of Marina is very nice, and she’s a sweet naive thing. All the pointes made are explained already in the above.

    HAPPY EASTER! to not so proud romanian and all the readers who celebrates it on 1st may. It’s Easter night here, just now.

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