Something’s rotten in the state of Danish opera

Something’s rotten in the state of Danish opera


norman lebrecht

November 24, 2020

The head of admin at Jutland Opera/Danish National Opera, Benedicte Christiansen, has resigned over what she says is a ‘toxic environment’ of sexual predators and power abuse.

Ms Christiansen, who teaches at the Royal Academy in Copenhagen, complained of unwanted touching, high burnout levels and prejudice in promotions and other work practices.

More here.



  • Will Duffay says:

    Do you think there will ever be a time when people don’t do the Hamlet thing in reference to anything Danish?

  • Firing Back says:

    “‘toxic environment…power abuse” – in the gentle world of classical music? No way.

    Imagine my shock and surprise!


  • Keen Observer says:

    Surprised the rest hasn’t been revealed yet – teachers pressuring students into sleeping together, orchestra bosses doing the same , positions being given without auditions at the royal danish academy of music, unwanted advances by people in positions of power….. And huge grants given to the same groups and individuals year after year – nepotism and rotten to the core. And bordering on corruption with state money….. It will never change and is a silent vow of secrecy that everyone knows about.
    Bravo to Ms. Christiansen for taking her stand!

    • Firing Back says:

      Keen Observer, the sad thing is that you could equally have been describing the situation in the UK classical music scene in general.
      But, of course, no one dares admit it…


  • Sharon says:

    I remember reading in an autobiography of the the Danish primo classical ballet dancer, and later Director of the National Ballet of Canada, Erik Bruhn, that there were problems in the National Ballet of Denmark over sexual harassment in the 1950s. He felt that the atmosphere there was pretty toxic for a number of reasons. He tried to
    get out of his commitment to them, since he graduated from the national ballet school, as early as 18 years old and at one time was involved in a court case against them.

  • Maria says:

    Fine if you can financially afford to stand down. Most need their jobs, never more thadn now, and then always someone else to take your place tomorrow and the problem not solved.

    • BruceB says:

      Yes. And of course the ones in power take advantage of that. The threat need not even be mentioned out loud; in an environment where so much is dependent on the goodwill of the higher-ups, the underlings are already constantly asking themselves the question “if I don’t make him happy and he fires me and won’t write a good reference, what will I do then?”