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French opera will strike unless Carla Bruni’s pal is fired

We reported nine months ago that 83% of musicians in the Montpellier opera house had demanded the dismissal of their their director general, a political appointee called Jean-Paul Scarpitta who is a chum of the former first lady Carla Bruni.

Almost 90% have now signed the petition. The have also filed notice of intent to strike – wiping out a rarely seen opera, Edouard Lalo’s Roi d’Ys, unless the boss is gone by the weekend.

We don’t know J-P but it sounds like he has all the people skills of Minnesota’s Michael Henson.


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  1. The Orchestre National de Montpellier is a fantasic ensemble with superb players. If they deem Scarpitta ‘incompetent’ there must be something to it. A piece of mine was performed by them in 2008, under the régime of René Koering, and my impressions were much favorable in comparison with other orchestral experiences. Koering was forced out of his job because of financial obscurity, which is regrettable since his way of building-up a local audience for classical music, and his programming policies, were admirable. Koering’s moderation of the concerts showed how classical music can create an inspiring and exciting evening, without the suspicions of ‘elitist’ rituals and other complaints so often heard nowadays. It is to be hoped that a new director will restore the confidence and trust within this unusual institution.

  2. Hello people, you know some years back Jean-Paul Scarpitta used to work as a salesman in a man clothing shop in Paris. Imagine, a man without any knowledge of music, music business and administration, just because he is a “personal friend” of Carla Bruni became the Intendant of Montpellier Opera House. Maybe this could only happen in a country like France where “copinage” gets somebody anything he/ she wants. Scarpitta is one of the biggest joke and embarrassment the classical music world should know about. He boasts that he is a good friend of Chiara Muti, voila!, so the father “Maestro Muti” came to conduct the Verdi Requiem in Montpellier, wow……??

    Scarpitta lives in the Hotel Lutetia in Paris, wow…..?? Great, huh……..

  3. Graf Nugent says:

    ‘Copinage’? In France?? Don’t believe it…

    • Sir,

      We in France are very proud of our longstanding tradition of copinage. At least we value friendship, not like those for whom “merit” or “achievement” are more important values. We also value nepotism, of course. Family comes first.

      Who would criticize that ?

  4. Graf Nugent says:


  5. By the way if the strike happens, usually the principal singers get NO pay, NO airline compensation and NO compensation for their hotels. How’s that for “solidarity”? A conservative estimate,transatlantic flight, 10 days in a hotel thrown away.. They will all be out thousands of dollars.

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