Paris Opéra musicians signal solidarity with Bordeaux

Paris Opéra musicians signal solidarity with Bordeaux


norman lebrecht

June 16, 2019

The rebellion by musicians of Bordeaux Opéra against their director Marc Minkowski is starting to gain adherents.

Paris musicians, always quick to rally, have sent this message:


  • Peter says:

    Which means ?

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    What’s this about? Minkowski is a fine musician/conductor.

  • Pianoissimo says:

    I repeat what I wrote in an earlier post. In typical French manner the conflict now spreads and solidarity against those in power gains traction. Same cast of characters on the same archaic French stage, characters unwilling to resolve conflicts, but preferring to increase them and disrupt as many as possible, as much as possible. :

    Here we go again. Yet another ridiculous French musical soap opera drama, with angry musicians who walk out and threaten not to play under their conductor, an equally angry and “prickly” French conductor who has the usual bad French attitude and what do we get…a tremendous waste of time and another window into daily life in France! When will people realise that constant strife, anger, being in opposition to your colleagues, going on strike and creating as much upheaval and discord as possible is just simply “normal” life in France.
    For those who want to collaborate with more sensible, mature and professional musical colleagues, avoid any professional contacts with France and French musicians. Sure there are exceptions. I have experienced them on a few occasions, but for the most part it is a place to avoid at all costs, unless you enjoy being stressed out, shouted at, talked down to, having to take sides against somebody, watching neurotic, depressive arrogant people get all angry and upset about things that would be quickly resolved, or wouldn’t even happen, elsewhere.
    I have performed in no less than 62 countries and only in France have I been treated with such disdain, contempt and impoliteness. In 2012 I decided, never again would I perform in France. I initially refused all offers to perform in France. Now, they don’t even bother to try to engage me and for that I am eternally grateful! There is a big and beautiful world out there with wonderful musical colleagues and warm receptive audiences. The risks of performing in France are too high and not worth the trouble.

    • Eric B says:

      And you’re the one talking about “French musical soap opera drama, with angry musicians who walk out…”
      “Now, they don’t even bother to try to engage me”
      Well, good ! There are wonderful musicians and conductors out there who’ll be very happy to work with French “drama queens”, euh, musicians.

  • Eric B says:

    Wait till the Lyon musicians come along…

  • AndrewB says:

    In France the regional ‘ national’ symphony orchestras usually play for their local opera house performances. This is part of their season and has a direct impact on how they are funded / governed by the region and locality .

    It has become almost a custom over the last decade or more for Opera House Directors to occasionally buy in a production complete with orchestra – perhaps of a baroque opera or in this case it seems initially an operetta, maybe if it has been touring with the same cast so as to avoid extra time and rehearsal expense .

    However it is understandable perhaps for the regional orchestra to have concerns if the local opera house director, being a conductor , has an external orchestra that they have developed and nurtured over 25 years or so.

    Furthermore this external orchestra ( albeit a replacement for one production?) had 438000 Euros of its funding abolished in 2014 .

    What starts as limited involvement or an experiment could become a fixture and with consequences for the regional orchestra.

    At the end of the day this is about trust ( which has to be earned , not just presumed) and the communication skills of leadership.

    Spare a thought for orchestral musicians though and for that matter quite often the opera choruses in many countries who find themselves in the middle of political wrangling and insecurity created at a higher level. This is why when they perceive a potential threat to their livelihoods, wherever they are based, they seek whatever solidarity they can and react.

    My comment is designed to give a context as a reflection on some of the posts above.

  • Who’s Pianoissimo ?!

  • fflambeau says:

    The arts (including music) are under attack world-wide, and by the same political forces (those of the far right) who are willing to cut public funds to art, education, and medical care but not to arms/war, huge multinational corporations, and the 1%. “Cost cutting” pertains only to the public, not to politicians (who are little more than gangsters world-wide) and the people who support them.

    I’ve written here before that the far right coordinates its activities world-wide and this is just another example. What happens in Bordeaux is also happening in Baltimore.

    They must also be met world-wide by opposition from people of good will.