Vienna Opera boss: I never paid for a singer’s taxi

The former director of the Vienna State Opera, Ioan Holender, has given a grouchy interview to Die Presse in which he insists that he never rode in taxs or stayed in five-star hotels.

Singers who asked him to pay their taxi ride from the airport were bluntly refused.

He maintains the top nightly fee at Vienna is 12,500 Euros, as it was in his time, but he thinks the opera house gets too much state subsidy and he’s angling to get appointed as an adviser to the incoming director Bogdan Roscic.

Full interview here (paywall).


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  • It’s time that this ghastly old gargoyle took a leaf out of the Marschallin’s book and realised that “ist’s halt vorbei”.
    Holender simply cannot stomach the fact that he is no longer a big beast and is miserable if someone isn’t poking a camera or microphone at him 24/7.
    The prospect of two such unsavoury characters working together in Vienna is too revolting to contemplate further.

  • Ich kenne diesen Mann kennen. Er ist ein sehr unangenehmer, schlecht gehärteter, alter Mann. Ich habe ihn niemals lächeln gesehen. Ich habe niemals einmal gehört, dass er eine nette oder kostenlose Aussage über irgendjemand sagt. Der Wiener Statsoper ist zu einem muffigen, verknöcherten alten Relikt einer großen Opernvergessen geworden. Er ist einer der verknöcherten alten Reliquien. Es ist Zeit für ihn, sich zurückzuziehen. Bitte, zieh dich zurück. Und nimm Placido mit dir. BITTE.

  • Actually his interviews certainly always (used to) brighten the Viennese day, as they are in a surprisingly direct and forthright style otherwise unknown in that most unctuous of cities. Neither mechanically bureaucratically leftist nor tradition-sucking rightist I hope he goes on causing trouble, there is value in this.

  • I worked for many years with Holander, both when he was an agent and as intendant. He loved the vienna Opera, he was knowledgable about singers, he controlled costs and understood the politics of Vienna/Austria. You might not agree with all his artistic decisions but he was a strong leader and did not suffer fools. Look at today’s frequent and often frivolous cancellations when artists and agents feel they can take advantage of weak leadership. There were very few such cancellations under Halander.

    • Very interesting comments. I would think negotiating the musical politics of Vienna would be very treacherous territory. Some of these other comments add weight to that.

    • If you worked with him for many years wouldn’t you be interested in researching the correct spelling of his name?

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