Singers reach for lawyers as Maggio Musicale faces meltdown

Singers reach for lawyers as Maggio Musicale faces meltdown


norman lebrecht

June 01, 2023

Florence’s renowned opera theatre has warned that it may have to close from next month unless it can pay off an €8.5m deficit left by the departed director Alexander Pereira who left in February.

The Maggio, presently run by the Rome civil servant Onofrio Cutaia, is looking to disperse its art archives in a fire sale. The archives include works by De Chirico and others.

Meanwhile, 1e principal singers who were summarily fired from a cancelled Meistersinger set up a gofundme today to sue the Maggio for their fees. They claim some of them should have been recast in a replacement production of Falstaff, but the theatre is indifferent to their financial plight. They say:

The theatre had a choice. It could have rehired as many of our cast as possible for Falstaff. It could have performed Meistersinger as a concert without the expensive production. It could even have tried to renegotiate our contracts. Instead it chose to leave 13 of the contracted singers unpaid, unemployed, uncompensated.

We are going to fight this. Not only is it unfair to us, our agents, and those who depend on us, our but it sets an alarming precedent – that contracts in opera are just words. We can’t allow that to take hold. Our system relies on trust – when that goes, the system collapses.

The Maggio itself might collapse before the case comes to court.


  • Kawd says:

    Press F to pay respect

  • Alviano says:

    An 8.5 million Euro deficit! Who do these guys think they are?

    • Tristan says:

      you never heard of awful Pereira….? He left Salzburg in a disaster as well as La Scala and should have never been appointed like Lissner in Napoli
      Where are solid Italians without neurotic attitudes like the one I mentioned – what a sad decline
      and just think of the Gods in the Rheingold finale….

  • Singeril says:

    Many opera companies have contracts that aren’t worth the paper on which they are written. Hope the artists can somehow get some compensation.

  • Food for thought says:

    Here’s a controversial thought. Zubin Mehta was Chief Conductor of this orchestra for more than thirty years. He took them to Salzburg just last week to play at a Barenboim celebration concert. Why doesn’t he step up and lead the fundraising? 8 million is pennies for what he has earned in his career. If he chips in a little, and makes a couple of calls to pals (Barenboim, Domingo, Carreras), they could easily solve this problem within hours.

    • Tristan says:

      exactly let the Geriatrics pay a tribute

    • Hugo Preuß says:

      And why exactly should a conductor and other musicians pay with their own money for the incompetence and budget cutting and possible contract braking imposed by administrators? That sounds like a very good deal for the city or state or whoever is responsible. Screw up and let the musicians pay for it themselves.

  • Pedro says:

    It is a pity that such a good conductor such as Daniele Gatti is involved in this mess.

  • Em says:

    Ahhhh……. Pereira….

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    Isn’t the Maggio Musicale famous for not paying people?