A singer is keeping track of opera houses that pay up, and those that don’t

A singer is keeping track of opera houses that pay up, and those that don’t


norman lebrecht

April 23, 2020

The German baritone Johannes Martin Kränzle, Beckmesser at the 2017 Bayreuth, is running a list onhis Facebook page of how theatres and opera houses have been honouring their singer contracts during Coronavirus, and how not.

The best performers, with 100 percent payment for all conracts, include Aachen, Aarhus, Basel, Copenhagen, ENO… all the way through to Zurich.

The median payment appears to be between 50 and 60 percent.

The poorest payers include Paris, Lyon, Brussels and Covent Garden.



  • Pief says:

    If I understand well, (and I’m just relaying something told me, so take it with a grain of salt) – the Monnaie (BXL) opera house, seeing as it is a federal house and thus receives funding from both the Flemish and Francophone governments (as well as the region of Brussels) – it has to deal with multiple different political agendas.

    Pieter de Caluwe is most certainly doing his best in this difficult time – it is certainly not in La Monnaie’s interest to tarnish its reputation.

    As always in Belgium, blame bureaucracy!

  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    If we care about the survival of our art form, then we should be more understanding of the grim decisions that these companies may have to make to survive in the long term. Even the best established companies may not survive this crisis. As an audience member only, I myself have no intention to claim refunds, unless automatically done, for all the substantial amount of performances I would no longer be able to attend, or cancelled already (that amounts to about forty performances). This is not life as normal, but a situation where all we took for granted could be lost.

  • Vienna calling says:

    Oper Zürich pay nothing to guests, not a single penny. They sent an e-mail to say ‘sorry but no way’. This should be corrected.

  • Paul Joschak says:

    Apart from rehearsal per diems, Cologne ain’t coughing up either…

  • V.Lind says:

    Is he only looking at Europe? Seems to me this space was very critical of the Meta few weeks back.

  • gingi says:

    @Paris: don’t forget that France was “en grève” for a long period. They said there artists fully and the audience was reimbursed!!!
    I am not wondering if there is no more money

  • J. David Jackson says:

    I still have not been paid for a gig in 2018 at the Teatro Bellini in Catania. Same theater never paid invited soloists from several concerts in 2017. They are real scums, despite all their rhetoric.

  • Johannes Martin Kränzle says:

    Let me explain, that all theatres and operahouses on my list are helpers. Different models and type of payment is there, but they are all on the helping side.