Bucharest crisis: Soare speaks out

Bucharest crisis: Soare speaks out


norman lebrecht

May 01, 2016

We have received the following account of recent events from the Romanian conductor Tiberiu Soare, formerly interim general manager of the Bucharest National Opera. If you have any questions for him, post them in Comments.

Tiberiu-Ionuț Soare


Hello everybody! This is the dark and sinister “maestro” Soare writing here. … Let me introduce myself: I was indeed a permanent conductor at the National Opera House here, in Bucharest for 8 years, between 2005 and 2013. I was competing then with four other gifted young conductors, who are still among my friends and colleagues. I have conducted here over 120 performances (both opera and ballet titles), among which over 10 premieres (Don Pasquale, Mefistofele by Boito, Oedipe by Enesco, Swan Lake, etc.). In time, I’ve became very good friend with many of the artists here: soloists, orchestra and choir members, dancers, and so on. We’ve really felt like an artistic family here!

I’ve left this position (at my own will!) in April 2013, when the management of Razvan Ioan Dinca made very clear for me that this was not a place for me to stay anymore. Between 2012-2015 I’ve held also the position of Principal Conductor at the National Radio Symphony Orchestra of Romania. I was also visiting professor at the National University of Music for some years (orchestra conducting/score analysis). I was born here, in Bucharest (1977) in a good but not very rich family.

I’ve never have had any pollitical connections in my life (in fact I’m not interested at all in this matter and I don’t vote, as a personal option). Useless to say, never have met mayor Negoita in my existence (I really don’t know why this should be something infamant, maybe he is an honourable person, I really don’t know). The concert you’re pointing at was hosted by a cultural foundation financed by the city authorities, indeed, but this is normal here in Romania: the state supports classical music from public funds, you may ask any romanian musician. I’m quite a normal person: driving my eight year son (Alexandru) at school in the morning, studying orchestra scores during nights (I really love spending time with Mozart, Mahler, Enesco and the rest of the pack), meeting friends and reading good books (by the way, I’m honoured to be hosted here by Mr. Norman Lebrecht: his tremendous writing “Why Mahler” is on a shelve in my study room, full of coffee stains and adnotations).

Speaking about books, I’ve also wrote two: “What are we going to the Opera for?” and, very recently, “Nine musical stories” (some personal impressions about meeting great composers via their music scores, not encyclopedias). I don’t remember ever hating somebody, but I do love any musician and artist. And Opera: for me it’s the everlasting spiritual home. I can say that I breathe Opera.

Now, let me explain some minor details: first of all, one month ago I was invited by the Ministry of Culture to take over ad interim this general manager post. That meant that I’ve blew over my entire life (cutting off my concerts in the near future, saying good-bye for a while to my loved music scores and books and really missing my boy and my family for entire days). Anyway, studying the institutional structure like an orchestra score (analysis professor, remember?) I’ve found out here many wrong things. I admire any gifted artist (Kobborg and Alina included) but this is not about Art: it’s about public money, law and my signature under them. I’ve decided not to assume something wich I’ve considered not right. I’ve never fired anybody, just forbidding Mr. Kobborg to use fictive titles on a public site. That’s all. Never threatened any artist, never discussing about nationality or race.

Furthermore, there are many issues that I’ve dealt with, not only de “Artistic Director (Ballet)” thing. For example: about 11 million euros spent on a major renovation of our Opera House few years ago. The whole work stopped unfinished just before the presidential elections in November 2014. The money-gone, the building- a shame. Any suggestions? I could go on like this for long, maybe I’ll find time to write you again. Let me say this: I’m a honest musician, not a monster. And I don’t care about image wars: I’m the first to admit that it’s not a great thing this what I’m trying to do here, but don’t judge me. Try to be sure that you have the whole picture first. And then we can have a decent dialogue. All the best!

Tiberiu-Ionuț Soare

You may wish to refresh memory with an independent account of events from Bucharest blogger, Despre Opera (in English) here. 


  • Catalin Damir says:

    I am commenting in English although I can write in Romanian as well.

    A little tact in dealing with whatever irregularities Mr. Director of ONB found in his first day would of gone a long way. I am sure Mr. Johan Kobborg could of being dealt with in a more professional manner and with less “laser like” passion. Instead of cutting him out from being unofficial “Director” of ballet virtually the next day after Mr. Tiberiu Soare become Director, Soare could of talked to Kobborg person to person and solve this thing without provoking a nuclear problem in Romanian culture.

    Now it is too late even for apologies since nationalist elements took over the discussion and Mr. Tiberiu Soare is not even important anymore in the future discussions. This is to show that too much hubris when you have some amount power is indeed harmful to oneself and others.

    All the best to Tiberiu Soare, hope his carrier will not be hurt too much by this event since he does not deserve this as an artist. No true artist deserve to be taken away from his artistic dream (Kobborg and Alina Cojocaru included).

    The only thing artist Soare can do now, if he dares… is to make publicly peace with artist Kobborg and to request for Johan and Alina to come back to work together (I saw that Johan still has this desire). Less than that is going to add to future pain for many artistic Romanian generations when they will have to confront the world about this. Heal the wound now Tiberiu and at least you will be at peace. Let the nationalists get what is coming to them… do not go in the same general direction.

    Cheers and peace.

    • Ecaterina T says:

      Dear mr Damir,
      I don’t know if you followed what Tiberiu Soare declared, but he wanted to talk with mr Kobborg from the first day, but he didn’t want to. Actually mr Kobborg rarely answered the calls and to the messages that the Minister of Culture Vlad Alexandrescu gave him, saying that he will answer when he wants to. He never appeared on public to talk about this story, Alina Cojocaru is his voice. The only thing he ever did was to write on facebook things that fed the scandal. He made the minister look like a liar when he put again mr George Calin as Interim because mr Kobborg said that he will work only with him and then when the employers protested (because they want to stop the corruption) and George Calin was let go again, mr Kobborg said that he didn’t say he wanted only mr Calin. Now acutally he wants to chose the director, and that’s the minister’s job, not his. (Who had to resign, due to this scandal, btw. And he was a very cultivated and active minister, really loved by romanians). So, let’s admit that mr Kobborg has also a difficult caracter to deal with. Let put also this detail in the story.

      • Anton Ciurel says:

        People have the wright to stay private. In cases like this you as an institution should communicate in respected legal terms.

      • Nina Pretty Ballerina says:

        Dear Ecaterina,
        In case you haven’t notice. Soare first delete the title, then expressed his willing to talk. If instead of Kobborg would have been a Romanian, Soare would have been hospitalized now, because any Romanian wouldn’t accept something like that. Soare was In this kind of situation with RNO, ok, civilized persons there just push him to step out. So with Soare things are pretty clear, he simply cannot more.

  • Black Swan says:

    Dear Mr Lebrecht,

    I am a fan of your blog and I want to congratulate you for exposing also the position of Mr Soare in this so called “scandal”. I saw, that at the end of the article you encouraged your readers to research about the subject also on a romanian blog “despreopera” owned by Mr Patrascu.
    In order to have all the right facts, your readers need to know that Mr Patrascu has a contract with the Bucharest National Opera signed by Mr George Calin, the former interim manager and so, there is a conflict of interest, because the information presented there is biased.

    I’m looking forward to your next articles!

  • Tom colan says:


  • Monica Balasoiu says:

    The mass media scandal created around the couple Alina Cojocaru-Johan Kobborg is a diversion intended to mislead the public opinion and distract attention from the serious problems existing in Opera: abuses, discriminations, illegalities, frauds.

    BNO’s employees have sounded the alarm, by refusing to support the performances, purely as a helplessness and disapproval’s reaction, following the negotiations of Alina Cojocaru-Johan Kobborg couple that pressured the Ministry of Culture and the Romanian Government, by conditioning their return to BNO only when the director, dismissed because of legal irregularities reported by the Court of Auditors, will return in function.

    See more here: https://www.facebook.com/JeSuisOpera/

    • Anton Ciurel says:

      Please be so eloquent when you are obstructed and stopped from getting in to your work, without any legal notification. If you want to be treated with correctness you will have to display correctness as well towards others

    • Anna pila says:

      The discrimination that happened are made by the employes toward foreigners and the Johan-Alina and about the amazing thing they ve done in 3years.
      Which they should be ashamed of. My friend one of the dancer attended the meeting last week and employes have been rude and totally impolite toward foreigners and Alina !

      • Nadia Ramasawmy says:

        En roumain s’il vous plait ?

        Nu inteleg nimic din acest comentariu – 20 de ani in afara Romaniei dintre care 15 in tari anglofone nu ma ajuta sa prind sensul frazei dumneavoastra.

  • Cristian says:

    “Tuesday,  April 19th – In the last day of his mandate, Vlad Conta hires Tiberiu Soare as a permanent conductor at the BNO.”
    I would like to know if it was organized a competition for the position of permanent conductor of BNO.

  • Roslyn Sulcas says:

    What was Mr. Kobborg hired for, if not to direct the ballet company? What should his title have been?

    • Lane says:

      He had two contracts: one as a soloist ballet dancer and one contractor agreement.

      • Anna pila says:

        Yes soloist contract which Mr Soare didn’t care because he put him in corps de ballet section which is absolutely ridiculous knowing mr kobborg career

  • Lelio says:

    Dear Mr. Soare, you and your colleagues are right to expose the problems and corruption at the heart of ONB. Of course, you are also entitled to strike when you feel like. But the show that you put up Saturday last week with the seated audience (me among them) not knowing if there would be a show (The Dream) or not was pretty eerie and disrespectful towards your audience. Please do take your arguments and camp in front of the Ministry if you want, just do not repeat that child’s play. It was just embarrassing!

  • Anton Ciurel says:

    The discussion about Mr Kobborgs title is irrevelant and uninteresting.
    The main reason to the animosity seems to be envy, because of his comparatively high salary, and fear of subsequent high quality demands in other departments of the opera as well. Anyhow so it seems from the outside.

    • Lelio says:

      I may add that Mr. Soare forgot to mention that his wife is a dancer under the direction of Mr. Kobborg.

      Clearly, she should stop dancing at a company where his husband is due to have managerial responsibilities.

      • Lane says:

        The same way Alina Cojocaru stopped collaborating with the ONB when her fiance was the Artistic Director of the Ballet, right. Or does that not count because that title never existed? Or perhaps the way she got involved in the whole mess because…? Why did the chicken cross the road?

        (wrote this in case you weren’t ironic; if you were, my bad)

        • Lelio says:

          I was not being ironic, indeed.

          You may question Mr. Kobborg’s arrival at the helm of the ballet of ONB, for sure. But this is not the matter regarding Mr. Soare’s wife.

          Regarding Mr. Kobborg’s position name. Honestly, who cares?????? A rose is a rose is a rose. The fact that he was hired thru a commercial contract does not invalidate neither his position nor his abilities nor his work for these last couple of years.

    • Anna pila says:

      Dear Anton,

      Do you have any idea who Mr Kobborg is ???
      He is a very famous dancer not to say a star. So yes his salary is very high maybe to high compare to Romanian people and life but it s because of his CV and career.

      No one says anything when footballer get high salary even in Romania so why do you have to make a problem for ballet ?!
      He deserved his salary and on top of that he has been hired with that salary because people knew they would get quick devloppment inside the opera

      • Mihail Ghiga says:

        The ammount of his salary is irrelevant. His contract, is. It’s a financial mess, instead a one – two year contract, one contract per each month. It shows how the former management worked with money, an ocean of contracts, and it’s highly suspicious. But ask mister Patrascu, he has an opiion (amateurish as it is) on everiyhing, he’ll find ressources to explain it’s perfectly normal.

      • Stelucia says:

        Kobborg the great star was shown the door by the Royal Opera Covent Garden after he declared he wanted to be its ballet artistic director. He left via short notice (something famous theatres don’t normally do; departures are announced well in advance) taking Alina Cojocaru with him. Why did left ROH so quickly????Explain me why he departed abruptly from ROH and why ROH did not care for a star of such magnitude leaving in a hurry. And now he is trying to get back his contract when -he, the great star- could find a better rated opera house.

  • As far as I remeber, the renovation of BNO was a record in itself: 4 months, i think it cost less than 11 milion euros, and it concerned mostly the spaces accessible for the public and the rehearsal rooms. It was a real bet, as it has to be finished before the beginning of the 2014-15 season (Paul Curran’s staging of “La traviata” with Aurelia Florian, Ioan Hotea and Ionut Pascu, Alex Prior conducting). Compare this to other renovations: Opera Iasi needed a couple of years and the backstage is still a mess, The Bolshoi, where it took many years and almost a bilion $.
    As far as I know it was supposed that this renovation to have a second phase, in 2015, for completing the restoration of all other arias. Obviously it ccould not be done during the season. Meanwhile, the general director was suspended, the funds were cut and so on.
    Also, during the period when Tiberu Soare was hired as conductor (during Cătălin Arbore’s tenure as General manager), the building was a total mess. Nobody complained publicly about that situation, including him.
    That means clearly that this scandal has nothing to do with the renovation. And what has anything to do with Kobborg?

  • Tiberiu Soare says:

    I’m surprised to have an article of my own on this prestigious site, thank you very much for this opportunity! I’ll try to bring some clarifications in short. First of all, Mr. Catalin Damir sounds very much like Mr. Patrascu’s writing style, I’ve read many of his articles during the years and I can say that I’ve developed a kind of habit in recognising his tone. But, who knows, maybe it’s just a coincidence! Now:
    1. I’ve accepted the interim manager position on 4th of April 2016 being convinced that it’s for a short term. In fact, the initial discussions with the minister were about me being Artistic Director ad interim, not general manager! Unfortunately, the situation looked so ugly here that the initial person envisaged for this gave up discouraged, and I was asked if I would take over the whole thing. I’ve said yes after a couple of days, being convinced that something better should happen to the National Opera House in Bucharest.
    2. Besides my official positions as a conductor (at the Opera House between 2005-2013 and at the Radio Symphony between 2012-2015) I was invited during the years to conduct orchestras like London Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, Volksoper Wien, Kammer Ensemble N (Stockholm), Sydney Opera House (Australia), Musica Vitae (Sweden), Radio Prague, Osaka Chamber Orchestra, Sofia Philharmonic, Suisse Romande (Geneve), etc. Some of them with Angela Gheorghiu, some of them without. If you look at the major houses around, there is common practice for known conductors being appointed to held a permanent position if their career recommends them as a benefit for the artistic future of the institution. There are many examples, it’s a reality in the artistic life. But more than this, every artist here at NBO felt that I’ve just returned where I belong. When I left, I’ve said everybody that I will perform here only after the management team of Mr. Dinca will leave. And so it was. As it happens, my very position which I left remained vacant all these 3 years. If it’s needed, of course I’ll be happy to present myself again at any competition for this position. I have already some contracts signed in advance as a guest conductor around the world, so I’m not hanging desperately on anything. Btw, Mr. Kobborg never held any contest for his allegedly “Artistic Director of the Ballet” position in this institution. Nor Mr. George Calin for Deputy Director, as I remember. As for myself, I did once: in November-December 2004. Since then I think I’ve proved enough what I’m capable of in front of an orchestra. For the rest, please ask any artist in the NOB (soloist, dancer, orchestra or choir member).
    3. The official position of Mr. Kobborg (as written down in his main contract) was Ballet Soloist, combined with a second contract in wich were included some coordination and scouting atributes. In any case, NOT Artistic Director of any kind. This position does not exist at NBO.

    • Lelio says:

      I do completely agree with Mr. Soare regarding the hiring of Mr. Kobborg in 2013. His main merit was indeed to be Mrs. Cojocaru’s fiance. Some may say his only merit.

      What I do not understand is the problem with the denomination of his position. If that position (held by other people before Mr. Kobborg if I recall correctly) does not exist, just create it…

    • Well, bad taste doesn’t make anybody legally guilty, isn’t it?

    • Nina Pretty Ballerina says:

      Darling Tibi,
      YOU will be A conductor when pigs will Fly. YOU had the chance to put in your CV few important orchestras only because Angela Gheorghiu want to go cheapest than using Western Conductors. Your box office is very low so This means that more money stay with Angela. Even so, nobody call you back to conduct, not even another Romanian singer. Probably is time to do the corrections on your CV. Actually you have a fictional CV as you Said about Kobborg’s title. The difference is that he is a Brand and you are just another frustrated guy in a band.

  • Tiberiu Soare says:

    My wife is not supposed to resign from anything, simply because she didn’t held any management position, so there was not any incompatibility.
    The situation with the building restoration is already reported by myself to the authorities, they will decide if everything was legal.

    • Lelio says:

      Mr. Soare, if you would be at the helm of ONB, you would decide about all matters regarding opera AND BALLET.

      Having your wife dancing at the ballet company over whom you preside, does appear to me like a problem for the people who have to decide the cast of the productions, to say the least…

      I have not a problem with her dancing, she should just find another company to dance for, one without her husband as the manager of the company… me thinks.

      • Black Swan says:

        Dear Lelio,

        You have a problem with Mr Soare’s wife working at the same company as he, but you don’t find it peculiar that Alina Cojocaru meddled in a work matter between her fiancé, Mr Kobborg and the management? And as a result of this work matter, she didn’t honoured her contract for Manon and refused to dance on the 10th of April?

        Also, you are way out of line when you are stating that Mr Soare’s wife should find another company to dance. If you are insinuating a conflict of interest, I advise you to research better on the subject. See more on the Law 161/2003 chapter I, title IV, book I, article 79.


        • Lelio says:

          I do and have written about it in a previous post.

          I did find awkward that Mr. Kobborg became Director of ballet (or whatever the position is named), mainly because he is Mrs. Cojocaru’s fiance.

          Regarding Mrs. Soare’s position, I am not going to get into a legal argument. It may well be legal but, in my honest opinion, it does not look good. How could the person casting the ballets be impartial regarding his or her boss’ wife? Just think about it…

          Could you imagine if Mr. Peter Gelb would employ his wife to conduct an opera at the MET? Wouldn’t he be accused of nepotism?

          In any case, the issue about ONB has not been in any moment about Mrs. Soare, I am sure you will agree with me.

          It’s about the managerial decisions taken by a group of people, including Mr. Alexandrescu, Mr. Soare, Mr. Calin, Mr. Kobborg, etc.

          And I do understand there are many things the employees of ONB can (and maybe should) protest about. I do have a problem how they did it Saturday last week (at DSCH/The dream). I do not think they gathered any public support with such a behaviour…

        • Anton Ciurel says:

          Try with this one? “Conflictul de interese potenţial – Conflictul de interese actual apare în momentul în care oficialul este pus în situația de a lua o decizie care l-ar avantaja sau care ar avantaja un apropiat de-al său sau un partener de afaceri.” It does not smell nice somehow.

  • Diana Rotaru says:

    Everyone in Romania who knows and has worked at least once with Tiberiu Soare respects him, both as a professional and as person – including me. I have known him for almost 20 years and the thought that such a person has their name dragged in such a manipulated scandal saddens and disgusts me deeply.

    • Anton Ciurel says:

      Interesting.I have the impression that one could give the same kind of commentary if one got to work with Kobborg.

  • Groucho says:

    What a sorry hypocrite you are! You state here you love artists like Johan Kobborg yet in recent interviews in the Romanian press you referred to him as “some dude” and also stated “as a choreographer Kobborg’s name should be spelled with a smallcaps k”.

  • Tiberiu Soare says:

    After this so called renovation the venue looks almost normal (with a hint of a bad taste, if you ask me), but in the rear and down around the orchestra pit the artists live in sub-human conditions, much worse than before (dust, windy corridors, small and dim-lighted rooms, insuficient sanitary rooms, etc.). One more thing: Mr. Patrascu is not “independent”, he had signed a contract with the previous manager and is currently payed more than an opera artist for a (still) non-existent “Opera” Magazine. I have the gut feeling that not very nice and legal things happened here during the last 3 years, and Yes: Mr. Kobborg’s activity IS a part of it.

    • A short note about “independence”. Can you explain in depth what is your problem with your own magazine, that you supposed to support? Because, as interim manager, you cannot have your own agenda (in that case you should have won a contest). Your duty was to continue the projects of your predecessor. We met officially twice on this matter, and you were pretty sure about this aspect.
      On the other hand, you know very well that I was’t paid yet for this contract. But I’m waiting for an explanation about how this contract became public.
      In fact, all your problem is precisely with my independence.

      The cover of the first issue of that “(still) non-existent “Opera” Magazine” can be found here:


      • Black Swan says:

        Dear Mr Patrascu,

        I think the best proof to show maybe Mr Soare’s mistaken is to post the entire first issue. For fun and for free.
        And also for the love of art 😉

        • In fact, there are 2 issues of this magazine. I’m considering the option to publish them online, for free, but there is a chance that this project could be restarted, once Tiberiu Soare’s downfall will be complete.

          • Black Swan says:

            Dear Mr Patrascu,

            These are just words, you didn’t show an actual proof of the magazine. Real proof that supports your statement above. Anyone can make a magazine cover, anyone with a minimum knowledge of a graphic design program.

            Also, I see that you have a personal vendetta with Mr Soare and therefore all your statements on the matter are subjective.

          • Monica Balasoiu says:

            Dear Mr Patrascu,

            It s your choice if you will post or not online Revista Operei.

            Anyway, I will be one of your readers, for sure.
            I m very interested about how someone from the audience comms the performances. And here I don t mean anyone from the audience. It s wonderful how much you know about music, and how much you love music and musician ( some of thems ).

            You wrote: “once Tiberiu Soare’s downfall will be complete” …. :))))))))

            Come on, he is JUST CONDUCTOR now at BNO. So… what are you wainting for?

  • Lelio says:

    For sure there are problems regarding facilities, changing rooms, etc at the building of ONB. But all this fuss started because of something completely unrelated to these problems, a kind of personal vendetta against Mr. Kobborg.

    Now the problems seem to be everywhere and with everyone. Maybe the ONB should follow Mr. Holender’s advice and get rebuilt from scratch.

    I do think that in this case Mr. Soare would be great as Music Director of the new company. As he was in the past.

    I am, on the other hand, not sure about the wisdom of having an active conductor working as General Manager. Those two fields should be separated and led by two different people. I am sure it is possible to find someone in Romania with cultural managerial experience for this new chapter.

    Pity about all the work at the ballet company of the last two and half years, I do think the efforts wer paying off and the audience was really enjoying it…

  • Mihail Ghiga says:

    I salute the intervention on this post of SO MANY new contributors. I will just share with you this two posts of Je suis Opera.
    1st, a statement
    We remind the Government that the principal demand of the artists of NOB is the right to a CORRECT MANAGEMENT and the investigation of the financial activity of the former management team.
    Taking note of the dangerous signals coming from the decisions forums lately and the smearing campaign thrown on us, we want to assert our right to free information and ask, as a good faith gesture, to be informed directly about the name of the proposed director, and not from the press.
    2nd, an interesting view of the money spent on renovation.

    • Mihail Ghiga says:

      The release is in romanian and I translated it. Maybe I should have used the word media instead of press. I would appologize strongly and individually to each contributor, but I feel that by appologizing once, I appologize to all.

  • Tiberiu Soare says:

    I do not intend to engage in a sterile discussion with anybody. The purpouse of my initial letter was to show your readers that the truth about the Bucharest Opera crisis is more complex then initially shown. It seems now that I have to talk only with romanians (in english!), which is rather comic for me. We could talk somewhere else, not on a reputed international site intended for classical music articles. Anyway: Mr. Patrascu’s answer is still unconvincing for me. I still consider him to be subservient of the people who ruined our Opera House in the last 3 years. Of course he is paid, we’ve all seen his contract. I don’t know why is he so vehement in demanding explanations about his exposure especially from me: I’m not related at all with this issue. In plus, as I see it, no personal data of his were made public, only the destination of public money.
    I was in the official position only 5 days (4-9th of April). My agenda was very clear, as discussed before with Mr. Vlad Alexandrescu, the minister of culture: to put a stop to illegalities, irregularities and abuses found here by the governamental inspectors in the previous months. Of course I have disturbed many interests. The institution was literally “warped” in hundreds of external contracts (such as Mr. Patrascu’s) with different persons and firms with no connection at all with our main activity: opera and ballet performances. Could you tell me a single opera house in the world who has tens of “merceologist” or “consultant” contracts for a title? Who were these people, and what, in the name of Puccini, were they doing here? As I’ve said, the “Artistic Director (Ballet)” problem was just one of this issues, and the governamental control will tell if everything was indeed alright. As for my wife, she was working here as a prima-balerina long before me (since 2000, I came in 2005; we actually met during rehearsals for the first time), and she doesn’t have (or had) any patrimonial interests in the management activity of BNO. Period. One more thing: the general manager isn’t supposed to interfere with any decisions regarding performances distributions. For this you need an artistic director and a chief of Ballet Compartiment. The general manager takes care about the administration, not roles on the stage. Unfortunately, the last 3 years this didn’t happened, but I’m not sure we’re talking about the right example. The life of a theatre is made from artistic personalities. I really think we should listen first to the artists (on both sides) when we talk about so serious problems regarding Opera, and then make an opinion.

  • Lelio says:

    Just one thing.

    Please think about your public.

    Audiences pay the price of the ticket in order to get a good experience at the theatre. Whatever happens behind your closed doors should remain there. Work it out and come back, the show must go on.

  • The Minister of Culture must have a very peculiar idea about reform acording to Mr. Soare. A conductor is a musician, not an Elliot Ness general ledger analyst. There are a lot of competent authorities who can analyse contracts and financial transactions, which are quite different from a musical score.
    How can be George Călin the symbol of irregularities and abuses when he was brought back to power by the same minister, replacing Vlad Conta and Tiberiu Soare (dismissed for a second time) after 2 weeks?
    I don’t need to convince Tiberiu Soare of anything, I’m just presenting facts.

    • Mihail Ghiga says:

      Mr. Patrascu, is it too much to ask for some credentials? Who are you, who comment so much against Tiberiu Soare, and the rest like you, up here? Where are the big artists, soloists, speaking against him? Did you read even Alina or Kobborg stating the hate you do? Did you read Hollender, allegedly not-corrupt manager, (and an artist at some point) release all the hate you say?
      FACT: You say yourself, your blog is an amateur one, you don’t disclose your contract with Calin , “so what” you say, still, amateurish.
      FACT: you claim the ONM is a marvel.
      FACT: you’re a hater of Iasi and Cluj operas?
      That I do not show here the photos before and after teh repairs of the hall of the ONB is due to the fact that I have reserves about the accusations that the impregnated wood panels ar bad, or the accoustics. But that, that’s a thing only a professional would do.

  • I cant present the magazine, for obvious reasons. There are many authors, I should ask their permission to do this, and subsequently to drag them into this nonsense.
    I don’t need to clear my name, it’s Tiberiu Soare who has to provide some explanations for his behaviour as interim manager, deputy manager and so on.

    The allegations about my contract are hilarious. In the first page of the contract (which was leaked) you can see very clear that the signature date is 1 March 2016. No payment was made (it was suppose to happen by the end of April). I have nothing to hide, but I don’t need to prove anything, either.

    This scandal is about an interim manager who was hostile to the chief of ballet. The chronology of the facts points to the fact that also the minister of culture was hostile against the chief of ballet, by preserving Tiberiu Soare inside BNO. The rest of Soare’s explanations are just cover-ups for these actions.

    While BNO is deprived of management for weeks, nobody is assuming actions like the interdiction for Johan Kobborg to enter in a public institution, or leaking confidential documents to the chauvinist press.

    • Monica Balasoiu says:

      Here is the post of VLAD ALEXANDRESCU on 21th April. He said that after he speaks with Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg, because of their will, he lets George Calin comes back at BNO.

      How actually Vlad Alexandrescu, the minister of culture, was hostile against Johan Kobborg?

      P.S. Mr Patrascu, the chief of ballet was FLORICA STANESCU, on website and official papers.

      “Vlad Alexandrescu

      April 21 at 6:39pm ·
      Soluția propusă ieri pentru Opera Națională București a fost găsită ca urmare a unei negocieri cu Johan Kobborg și Alina Cojocaru, purtate din dorința ca ei să-și continue activitatea la Operă, negociere în care a fost pusă drept condiție această numire.
      În fața protestului de la Operă și a împotrivirii manifeste a artiștilor, este însă evident că dl George Călin nu-și poate exercita funcția, așa încât am decis să îl retrag de la conducerea Operei. În zilele următoare voi face o nouă numire.”


    • Mihail Ghiga says:

      Witch hunt. Transylvania, 1690. In the National Archives of Kronstadt I found many documents about witchcraft lawsuits. I was searching for music, but the subject was so fascinating that I had to take a deeper look. Let me tell you one story. Once upon a time, a gentleman and his horse were passing through the gate of one city. After two days, the horse died. The gentlemen started a lawsuit against a lady of humble origin,
      because „he saw her looking at the horse with crossed eyes, causing its death”. After some water trial, a little torture, and the neighbors’ testimonies, the lady was acquitted. The gentleman was ordered to pay a 2 florins fine for calumny. Lucky lady, luckier than thirteen others who were burned or drowned between 1608 and 1690 in Hermanstadt (see below and excellent article) Are the opera artists and Tiberiu Soare guilty of cross-eying Mr. Kobborg, or did the Opera collapse because she was already sick, from the times of the previous management?

  • Monica Balasoiu says:

    Maybe sounds out off topic, but in other posts there was a question about how is Tiberiu Soare conducting and about the youth Symphactory Orchestra.
    I can t remember who exactly posted a link with this young orchestra from some years ago with the 4th mov. of Dvorak 9th symph.
    Let me show you how was to learn about music with T.Soare as conductor.
    Some links from our concert in January 2016. If anybody has questions about the soloist, they are not from BNO, we promote young artists, he is 21 and she is 26.
    Our next concert with Symphactory Orchestra is at Radio Hall Bucharest this week, on 5th May – I LOVE MOZART. Also with young soloists. And it s as always, sold out.
    In Romania the audience love Tiberiu Soare, he is very well known and the financial support for his book came from audience. By the way, his new book will be on “market” on 5th may at our concert.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyHzqIoxElw – Encore from January 2016
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMwwkS-zix8 – Tenore George Ionut Virban
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfZkO8-FZy8 – January 2015 – Alexandru Tomescu

    I was very disappointed to read on Mr Alexandru Patrascu some posts about us, the young orchestra, where he said that we are “mercenaries”, “jerks”… and only because our conductor since 2012 is Tiberiu Soare… just take a look!


    Isn t that a personal vendetta?
    Because nowhere in this world I can t belive that a “music critic” as you personal said about yourself, Mr Patrascu, would ever speaking in this manner about a youth orchestra…. It a shame this manner of speaking…and not for us, for you 🙂

    • Magnolia Popescu says:

      There is always room for some publicity, Monica Balasoiu, isn’t it?. Symfactory orchestra is an orchestra of young mercenaries and you, as the leader of this orchestra, choose only mercenaries and do everything possible to win some credits using this scandal. I saw at some of your concerts one or two great musicians who came to play once or twice and than never again. Tiberiu Soare did support you and your project with all his powers and his heart but this didn’t do well to his public image, especially because Symphactory Orchestra didn’t evolve over time as a distinct artistic entity. So yes, you are way out of topic, stop marketing for your next concert!!

  • Anton Ciurel says:

    Irrelevant and sentimental argumentation which has nothing to do with the artistic qualities of those involved.

    • Mihail Ghiga says:

      Yes it does, it shows their artistic credentials. Please post some relevant and objective arguments, aslong as your credentials, replying in more than one unprofessional and unethical way (but well, professionals have etics, not trolls). State facts, be clear, be polite, or forever be a troll.

  • Of course, those “artists” were mercenaries (I never said “jerks”) as they were stopping two runs of “Falstaff”, a ballet (“DSCH/The Dream”) and made a circus out of a concert dedicated to Shakespeare, while in the same time, they were singing in a park for the mayor of Sector 3 of Bucharest.
    It’ very convenient to have a full employment, a contract for life in BNO while being also able to make extra money from all sorts of other contracts (singing in the park, in the churches, at the weddings or funerals).
    Of course, the same artists were not at all impeccable, while they were singing (very bad) “Va, pensiero” protesting against corruption but having Mr. Arbore singing alongside them. Mr. Cătălin Arbore, former general manager of BNO is accused of corruption in a trial, the fraud being 3.4 mil. RON (760,000 EUR/ 595,000 GBP)
    Of course, I would like to see the full list of artists who are endorsing Tiberiu Soare and Cătălin Arbore.

    • Monica Balasoiu says:

      1. We are artists with/without your permission. This is what is written in our diplomas after 4 years at National University of Music and 2 years in Master Degree.

      2. I don t have any contract for life at BNO, actually my contract as a collaborator – exactly as your contract as collaborator with BNO. Mine is until November 2016.
      And by the way,for this job I made until now 3 auditions… What about you? Was any audition for your position/ contract? I m sure that Romania has great music critics as Anca Florea, Grigore Constantinescu etc with Bachelor Degree in music, not in IT.

      3. I m sorry if you consider that I may be agressive by saying all this stuff, but let s be honest: where is your CV ? what studies make you able to tell about me and other musicians if we are or aren t ARTISTS?

      4. Don t you make extra money in your free time… ? Like Opera Magazine?

      5. Even NEW YORK PHILARMONIC plays in Central Park.

      6. We don t do gigs at weddings and funerals. And it s not a shame to make money in your free time, even by playing at events like wedd or funerals. As long as you don t steal!

      7. You know very well who was singing in that VA PENSIERO…. orchestra, soloist, choir, auxiliary from make up, hair style, light, clears from BNO! It was a statement of togetherness.

      8. Are you sure you didn t say “JERKS”? :))))) Take a look!


  • sorry, “callous”, not “callout”

    • Black Swan says:

      Mr Patrascu,

      If you are taking time to give english lessons, I have a suggestion for your next critics, that you will be exposing on your blog. Singing is for voice and playing for instruments….so you don’t mislead you readers as you usually do.
      Apparently, you have plenty of time to reply to all the comments that are against your point of view. I advise you to embrace another career, the career of a theater critic because I think it suits you. Obviously, you have experience, managing all of these roles in the online space, it must be exhausting.
      Clearly, it’s meant for you. So leave the music reviews to someone who knows what they are doing.

  • Julianne Bart says:

    The self-proclaimed music/opera critic Alexandru Patrascu is one of the many people who is constantly manipulating the press and the public.
    Anyone with common sense can notice that his opinions and statements are biased, with not a single evidence that can support his affirmations. Insolence and a bad attitude.

  • Lelio says:

    In the meantime, audiences are fuming in Bucharest.

    Six shows already canceled and counting…

    • Monica Balasoiu says:

      Can we blame someone for that?
      Facts are:
      1. The decision to suspend the performance rights for Giselle belong to choregrapher E. Stiefel even since April 11th.
      2. Kobborg resigned on April 12th.
      3. Since April 21th BNO is waiting for a manager.

  • Monica Balasoiu says:

    This letter was written by Tamara Grimmer, from Switzerland, in the time when she was working at BNO, for asking the Minister of Culture to help her. She studied at Academy Vaganova din Sankt Petersburg. Before she came at BNO,she worked in Lituany and Moscow. After an audition, she took the job at BNO. She was very happy to work at BNO for 3 years. After this time, Mr J Kobborg decided to stop her contract, without letting her know his decision in time, so she wasn t able to find an other job at the end of the season ( may-june ). She also wrote in the letter that Mr J Kobborg told her that his decision has nothing to do with her performances and studies. He told her that he need her job for others dancers who will come next season from England.
    She also wrote that her salary was 1500 Ron – in Euros it means aprox. 330 euro.
    Was that right/legal/ethic/fair?
    Anyway, not for her!
    Here a link from youtube with Tamara Grimmer at Zurich Opera House in 2015.

    “Domnule Ministru,

    Subsemnata, Tamara Grimmer, cetățean elvețian, ce lucrez in Romania, la Opera Națională Romana din București, de 3 ani, va rog respectuos sa acordați putina atenție situației delicate in care ma aflu in acest moment.

    Pana a ajunge in Romania: – Am studiat la Academia Vaganova din Sankt Petersburg, la cea mai buna scoala din lume, școală cu un renume de necontestat in lumea baletului mondial.

    Am lucrat 4 ani la Teatrul National din Lituania, un an la Moscova (unde nu toți artiștii pot accede).

    De 3 ani am avut bucuria sa ma alătur corpului de balet al Operei National din București, ca urmare a unui concurs organizat de către o comisie prezidata de fostul director al baletului de la acea vreme.

    Acum, la Opera se apropie sfârșitul stagiunii si cu uimire am aflat de la directorul artistic actual, Johan Kobborg, cetățean danez, renumit artist, mai ales in Anglia unde a fost prim-balerin la Covent Garden, cum ca nu mi se mai prelungește contractul de colaborare.

    Cu uimire am scris pentru ca in luna februarie a acestui an am avut cu dansul o întrevedere și l-am întrebat de situația mea pe viitor in companie. Mi-a spus ca nu vor fi probleme cu prelungirea acestuia, iar acum, in aceasta luna m-am trezit ca nu mi-l mai prelungește.

    Nu am lipsit niciodată de la orele de studiu si de la repetiții, am asimilat întreg repertoriu intrând in toate spectacolele de balet dar și in cele de opera.

    Am stat pana acum aici pentru ca mi-a plăcut foarte mult țara, orașul, oamenii, am învățat de drag și limba, instituția Operei, colectivul cu care dansam, repertoriul, oportunitățile artistice pe care le-am avut de-a lungul celor 3 ani, iar acum, cu mâhnire in suflet, consider ca este un abuz. De ce?

    Pentru ca, dacă in februarie mi-ar fi spus ca nu-mi mai prelungește contractul, as fi avut timp sa dau audiții la alte companii din alte tari, pentru a-mi asigura traiul pe viitor, ori prin aceasta, eu am ratat aceasta posibilitate si sunt forțată sa ma întorc in țara mea natală fără a avea un loc de munca asigurat, dar și sa părăsesc un loc de care m-am atașat si căruia i-am făcut reclama nu de puține ori in colaborările mele externe.

    Întrebându-l pe D-l Kobborg motivul, mi-a spus ca trebuie sa fac loc noilor colaboratori ce vor veni din toamna, colaboratori englezi…(știe deja ca cei ce vor veni la audiție vor fi admiși…), ce se vor alătura numărului destul de numeros de englezi in raport cu romanii, ce se găsește la ora actuala. De aceea, il suspectez de abuz in funcție: aduce fără un concurs legal mai multi cetățeni englezi in defavoarea celorlalți, chiar și a romanilor.

    Ce este surprinzător, este ca dansul mi-a prelungit contractual stagiunea trecuta. Acum de ce oare nu mai vrea? Mai ales ca eu am un salariu cu mult mai mic decât cei noi pe care-i accepta (eu 1500 Ron iar ei de la 550 Euro in sus), iar cei noi participa in mai puține spectacole decât noi care deja eram in companie.

    In sprijinul celor afirmate exista ca dovada si dvd-urile cu spectacolele in care am dansat. Cred ca este discriminare la adresa mea: doar ca nu sunt din Anglia sau ca nu am terminat școala acolo, ma da afara?

    Ca cetățean European știu ca am dreptul la munca si statutul îmi este respectat, ori ceea ce trăiesc acum nu este deloc etic și moral.

    Nu am vrut sa trec peste forurile ierarhice superioare din Opera, însa datorita situației actuale, când directorul general este suspendat din funcție, nimeni nu-si asuma răspunderi, am considerat ca sunteți forul cel mai competent sa-mi dați un răspuns la situația prezentata, înainte de a ajunge la Ambasada Elveției.

    Cum sunt nevoita sa părăsesc –sper doar temporar- Romania, am sa va las o adresa de mail unde pute-ti trimite răspuns la petiția mea.

    Va mulțumesc anticipat!!!”

    Tamara Grimmer.


  • Anton Ciurel says:

    A change of mentality is needed in Romania. This kind of gossiping, talk of good will, credentials and CVs does not help at all. Nor looking for the scape goat. You need to lessen your ego and start working for the benefit of music and ballet life in Romania.

  • Absurdistan says:

    Compare “maestro” Soare’s “rendering” (or *rending*, rather) of Enescu’s First Rhapsody


    with the version of an actual master of the craft:


    (Constantin Silvestri was also pushed out of Romania, by the previous generation of Soare’s and Iordachescu’s.)

    But, if you want to get the measure of “maestro” Soare in international repertoire known by all, suffer through this alleged Dvorak.


    Incredibly sloppy, crude, and way beyond *just* bordering on incompetent.

    One sound image is worth a thousand words…. or cooked-up CVs. The crooks attempting to take over the Romanian opera are great at chest-thumping and politics. When it comes to art…. not so much.

    Remember this Soare/Iordachescu-inspired “rending” of Verdi’s immortal Nabucco chorus.


    I leave you on this bitter note of the best, aesthetically speaking, Soare and his acolytes have to offer.

    • Monica Balasoiu says:

      You ‘re funny, Mr… :))))

      You ‘re out off topic. Again.

      Sleep well in your deep bitterness !!!!

    • Black Swan says:

      Dear Absurdistan or Mr Patrascu,

      or I don’t know how many roles you have and who are you playing this time. I have to give credit for something, you are relentless.
      As I am reading all of your comments, I see only hate, frustration and incompetence from your part. This blog is not meant for these mean and false accusations, for hate posts, it has another purpose. Maybe you will figure it out, in the near future, I Hope.
      You are not a musician, a music critic or anywhere in between. Your assumptions and allegations are ridiculous and have no meaning. You’re not only throwing invectives and making value judgements on the conductor Tibi Soare but also on the musicians that are in the videos.
      First video is with the National Radio Orchestra. In what capacity to you judge the interpretation or vision?
      Well, I’m going to tell you something, because clearly you don’t have a clue: music is a language, a sort of nonverbal communication and each conductor has a vision for every piece. Music it’s not something that you can make a copy and play it identically. Yes, there are directions on the score but each vision is different.
      On the other hand, let me leave here a review of the same Rhapsody, review made by the well know critic of theater, opera and ballet, Simon Parris, regarding a concert in Melbourne Australia;
      “Fellow Romanian Maestro Tiberiu Soare conducted the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, with a very clear highlight being the scintillating “Romanian Rhapsody” by Enescu in the second half. This epic suite highlighted crisp percussion and bold brass and featured many climactic moments”

      OK. Let’s continue. The second video is with an youth orchestra. You have so many hate inside that you are willing to simply destroy some young musicians? That all they want to do is play and make music? Oh, Mr Actor, I pity you.

      Nedless to say, that the last video is a recording made with a phone, it’s not professional, the sound it’s distorted and in which the persons that are singing are not necessarly all musicians, there are also auxiliary personnel from the Opera. But, I don’t have the time and the mood to explain you, because you wouldn’t understand.

      Lastly, I conclude with this: I am very sorry that you are incapable of understanding and feeling the music, it’s a feeling I can’t describe: it’s pure joy and sadness in the same time, it’s energy and fulfillment, feelings that you can’t reach because music it’s not hate and resentment and that’s what you are showing.

      I am very sorry that you are such a narrow-minded person that your only response it’s hate.

    • Mihail Ghiga says:

      I’m really, really sorry to write again here, I’m not much into replying to trolls, but this is too precious:
      I’m not a dating agency, but I’d say that she and Mr. Patrascu could be a match made in heaven.
      As for how ridiculous J. Kobborg looks in this… speachless, speachless.

  • Tiberiu Soare says:

    Here are some facts and figures regarding only the first year of Mr. Dinca &Co.’s management team compared with a 2009 shattered by world economic crisis:
    1. In 2009 the state subvention for NOB was about 7.768.000 €. The income from tickets, sponsorship, etc. was 684.100€ (roughly 10% from de budget).
    In 2013 the state subvention was 15.100.000 € (yes, double than 2009!). The income was 590.000 € (5% from the budget, and far less than 2009).

    2. In 2009 NOB signed 525 external contracts. In 2013 there were 5.713 external contracts(sic!).

    3. In 2009 there was a total of 127.711 spectators. In 2013, only 92.887 people.
    I wish you a pleasant day!

    • Anton Ciurel says:

      These informations are not conclusive neither for the quality of art or the waste of money at ONB. If one want a serious analisys ( personally I do not think it is the right forum here) we should see other economic parameters; development of inflation, ticket price, new recruitments, investments, taxes and so on.

  • Tiberiu Soare says:

    Forgot to mention that in May 2010 there was a cut of all state wages of 25%. We’ve never fully recovered that loss of income (due to inflation). What a beautiful time we’ve had those years…