Croats revolt against ‘know-nothing’ opera chiefmain
From a correspondent in Zagreb:
The HNK (Croatian National Theatre Zagreb) is in crisis. In addition to opera, the HNK presents drama and ballet. The present Intendant Dubravka Vrgoč comes from a theatre background and has publicly admitted that she knows ‘nothing about opera’.
Dubravka Vrgoč’s spectacular lack of qualifications is exceeded only by an abrasive and dictatorial management style. In mid January, 12 Croatian cultural luminaries wrote an open letter demanding her dismissal on grounds of bullying and ignorance.
The Croatian Parliamentary Committee for Education, Science and Culture has held two special sessions to investigate the litany of complaints against Intendant Vrgoč. Testimony was signed by 30 past and present employees of HRK. The number of signatories supporting her removal has now mushroomed to over 450, including 18 opera soloists, 33 orchestral musicians, 26 chorus members and a plethora of international artists including baritone Željko Lučić, Bayreuth tenor Tomislav Mužek and Braunschweig Generalmusikdirektor Srboljub Dinić. The full list of names can be read here.
The Croatian conductor Nikša Bareza, HNK’s previous director of opera, has told the Nacional newspaper that Vrgoč is impossible to work with. She responded, calling Bareza ‘the emperor with no clothes’.
There’s no row like a Balkan row.