Norman Lebrecht on shifting sound worlds
But director Gerard Mortier says he’ll fight on….
Details here. Cuts on a similar scale are being handed out to all cultural institutions, including the Prado museum and the Licue opera in Barcelona, reports el Pais.
Mortier the fighter, huh? He who quit New York City Opera after learning of vital budget cuts, and pocketed 400k for his trouble? Crisis, what crisis? Bring it on!
The management of Spain opera houses, as well as it´s musical festivals, is a good example of why the country is facing it´s worst economic crisis in years.
As in Italy, Spain main music centres are controled by a group of managers with a heavy intervention of agents and other middlemen of the industry, thus securing fat contracts for their artists rather than artistic quality. When the sun was bright, the fees paid in Spain were among the highest in the world, but artistic quality did never go hand in hand with these sky-high expenses. Thus, managers never learnt how to assure artistic quality, rather than securing “ephimeral glamour” from big names.
The same goes for irresponsible infrastructure projects all over the country etc etc.
At the same time, cultural managers never favoured the grooming of local talents: singers, soloists or orchestras, prefering the “imported glitz”. As it is recorded, this meant a denial of much needed funds for the grooming of Spain´s artists, and thus the scarcity of them today.
It is high time to refocus the musical industry here, giving a real chance for the home talent and recognising that a country needs it´s artists for the sustainable continuity of musica and opera.
By the way, Mr. Mortier has preferred imported artists, and even orchestras, during his tenure at the Real. Deficit has sky-rocketed and artistic quality has plunged.
Author, novelist, broadcaster, cultural commentator.
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More Lebrecht @ normanlebrecht.com
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