The Paris Opera cancels an upcoming tour of its orchestra

The Paris Opera cancels an upcoming tour of its orchestra

It was in a press release on January 12 that the Paris Opera announced the cancellation of a tour scheduled for next spring with its musical director, Gustave Dudamel. The Paris Opera is forced to give up the concerts of the orchestra scheduled at the Musikverein in Vienna and at the Barbican in London on April 14 and 22, 2023, the terms of the organization of tours not being compatible with the balance desired economy. »

The two prestigious halls – the Opera orchestra has never yet performed at the Barbican – will therefore not applaud French instrumentalists in a program honoring the national repertoire as well, with A smile composed by Olivier Messiaen during the bicentenary of the death of Mozart and the magical My mother the goose by Maurice Ravel, than Germanic music. The Symphony No. 82 of Joseph Haydn and the lush Rosenkavalier sequel by Richard Strauss completed the line-up.

Dissension between management and unions?

“The Opéra national de Paris regrets this missed meeting with a new public which promised to be rich in promise. In this regard, the establishment recalls the fragile and constrained economic model of touring, while reaffirming its desire to showcase its talents beyond borders. the statement continues.

According to the specialized publication The Musician’s Letter, “a source within the house” evokes that “Thwarted union negotiations between the orchestra and management are at the root of the situation”. The two parties could not come to an agreement on “the conditions of remuneration of artists on tour. The unions are calling for travel time to be counted as working time.

A strained financial situation

Asked by The crossthe Paris Opera invokes more the difficult compatibility between the activities of the institution and the organization of tours which, however, contribute to the artistic development and influence of the orchestra. We would like to continue to organize them, but they are less part of the current missions of an opera orchestra than of a symphony orchestra and are complicated to reconcile with the central mission, which is to play in the pit for opera and ballet. . A complexity that turned out to be too heavy in the situation we are in”.

This “situation” is that of an establishment whose deficit still hampers its financial health and requires strict control of expenditure. Caused by the long strikes of 2019 then the health crisis and the confinements, the losses indeed reach 90 million euros budgeted for 2020-2022.

Redefining the route model

“Our goal is to define, with the musicians, a framework that will allow us to consider new projects with more predictability”, indicates the Opera again, without however explicitly mentioning the impasse in which the negotiations between management and unions would find themselves.

In general, a tour, which involves the travel and accommodation of an entire orchestra as well as the supervising teams, represents a substantial investment. Especially since the part borne by the “inviting power” is “entirely variable depending on the country and the rooms. We also benefit from the help of our patrons”specifies the Paris Opera.

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