I s r ae l i Opera Festival June 2011
I s r ae l i Opera Festival 1 June 201 I s r ae l i Opera Festival
By the legendery mountain of Masada, the Dead Sea
, the Masada legendery the By Dead Sea , the of mountain legendery
A i d a
Giuseppe Ve rdi Conducted by Daniel Oren
Messa da Requiem
Giuseppe Ve rdi The Arena di Verona Orchestra
Conducted by Giuliano Carella
Nabucco. Masada 2010
Nabucco. Masada 2010
Nabucco. Masada 2010
At the Sultan's Pool, by the majestic walls of the eternal city of At the Sultan's Pool, by the majestic walls of the eternal city of At the Sultan's Pool, by the majestic
At the Sultan's Pool, by the majestic walls of the eternal city of Jerusalem
J e r u s a l em
Giuseppe Ve rdi Verdi's rarely performed opera Conducted by David Stern
Opera Gala Concert
The Arena di Verona Orchestra Conducted by Giuliano Carella
Chamber Vocal Concerts at Jerusalem's Churches
For details of packages & accommodation: w w w . a i d a a t m a s a d a . c o m w w w . g o i s r a e l . c o m Op e r a a t i t s B e s t i n U n f o r g e t t a b l e S u r r o u n d i n g s
Op e r a a t i t s B e s t i n U n f o r g e t t a b l e S u r r For details of packages & accommodation: Op e r a a t i t s B e s t i n U n f o r g e t t a b l e S u r r . a i d a a t m a s a d a . c o m w w w For details of packages & accommodation: o u n d i n g s Op e r a a t i t s B e s t i n U n f o r g e t t a b l e S u r r . g o i s r a e l . c o m w w w . a i d a a t m a s a d a . c o m . g o i s r a e l . c o m PAIN MANAGEMENT
By the Editor
As in the fable of the chicken who imagines the sky is falling in and gathers other animals around, most of Britain’s arts organizations were seized by cumulative panic in the lead-up to the government’s spending review, revealed on October 20. So when it came, the announcement—though bad—was not quite the Armageddon that had been feared. Although Arts Council England is to have its budget cut by 29.6 per cent over the next four years, it has been instructed to pass on cuts of only 14.9 per cent to its Regularly Funded Organizations (RFOs—including all the major opera companies), which will involve some tough decision-making as to who and what are the most deserving bodies. Most immediately, the RFOs are to get an equal, across-the-board cut of 6.9 per cent in the 2011-12 season, so there have been some tentative sighs of relief—balanced by lingering gasps of anxiety about the longer-term future, and worries about who will retain or lose RFO status. Further clarification on some of the smaller companies’ funding beyond 2012 was expected in November, but compared to talk of slashes of 40 per cent and more (stoked by gloomy news from the Netherlands on the future of its radio orchestras), the general feeling is that things could have been worse.
Yes, cuts to arts funding were inevitable: you don’t have to be an economist to look at the world around and appreciate the seriousness of our predicament. In Britain, especially, after all those years in which the then-chancellor Gordon Brown developed a spending habit like a footballer’ s wife, a habit that even To ny Blair couldn’t really af ford, some stringency is surely necessary. But it is wrong to argue, as many seem to be doing, that because the arts seem less ‘essential’ than schools or hospitals they shouldn’t be receiving money needed by those more obviously ‘frontline’ services. There is money to go round, but it requires moral courage to spend it wisely, and most of this country’s needs could be met from the small change of what it invests in armaments.
The danger now is that every artistic decision will be, in essence, a financial one, and every financial decision an artistic one. Yet the belt-tightening is already forcing some companies to take decisions they should perhaps have made earlier. For example, the ROH has admitted for the first time that its proposed £100 million outpost in Manchester has been put on hold. The ROH also earned itself some negative publicity when it was revealed that the joint salaries of Antonio Pappano and Tony Hall top £1 million. That may be more money than they really need, but it is hardly out of proportion with the salaries of countless other executives and remains considerably less than their counterparts in some big American arts organizations.
So far, the arms-length funding principle remains intact. If the Arts Council is forced to reconsider its formerly carefree enthusiasms for various fringy, box-ticking outfits, that may be no bad thing; it’s the art itself that really matters, not the cottage industries that have grown up around it. The danger faced by even the most deserving companies is that the Arts Council appears to be engaged in some sly and cynical pain management: most stand to lose much more than 6.9 per cent through the cessation of ‘special projects’ funding that had routinely topped up their grants, yet they are hardly likely to squeal now for fear of compromising future funding. What’s needed next is for the highly bureaucratic Arts Council to look critically at itself: there must be huge savings to be made there.
Opera, December 2010