Sets, orders: classical music starts to merge to save money

Posted January 18, 2023, 11:05 am

The subsidized cultural sector is troubled by rising costs and declining public funding. We did this in mid-January at the Bis de Nantes, at the meeting of private and public actors of the performing arts, “The end of the performing arts from 2023? “. Or this tribune of the Musical Forces, which includes 51 operas and orchestras: “Minister of Culture, the closure of our institutions is no longer a shame.” should stop working for

According to The Musician’s Letter, the Rouen Opera experienced an increase in its energy bill of €450,000, the cost of a production like Rigoletto. The Bordeaux Opera requires additional costs of 1.3 million euros. At the same time, salary increases are added: in Bordeaux it is 500 thousand euros. Finally, subsidy cuts pose a threat: Clermont Auvergne Opéra in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes has lost 20% of its regional funding.

Comprehensive savings

Thus, the search for savings is multifaceted: lowering the temperature, closing the facade at night, renewing the air more “under control”, postponing expensive artistic projects… But the trend is also towards unification. Thus, Collectif plans to standardize 17 h 25 decorative elements. It brings together five cultural structures willing to share good practices: Châtelet, Aix-en-Provence Lyric Arts Festival, Paris Opera, Lyon Opera and La Monnaie Royal Theater in Belgium.

“General management set the approach, then technical departments, design bureaus and workshops were involved. The idea is not to expand this collective too quickly in order to get concrete results, to transfer our experience to a larger number of institutions”, explains François Vienne, Deputy Director General of the Festival d’Aix.

Standardization of the structural elements that support the sets allows them to be reused from one production to another, reducing waste, storage, transport volumes and the overall cost of the sets.

Go off the beaten path

La Cooperative aims to be a production tool to revitalize opera outside of mainstream institutions. It brings together three national stages (Besançon, Dunkirk, Quimper) and three opera houses (Compiègne, Rennes, Tourcoing) and creates shows that can be performed in multiple venues. More than 100 plays performed in more than 30 theaters of France have passed an important stage. “Around these six members, we have partners, national stages, city theaters, and opera houses. This made it possible to play a piece that was played only 4-5 times, 10-12 times,” said Matti Ritzler, director of Rennes Opera, to Bis.

The French Center for Lyrical Production, called “Génération Opéra”, grew up. It organizes the Voix Nouvelles competition, which brings out big names in singing, and brings together opera houses with young singers to create productions (one sets and the other costumes, etc.), contributing to their professional integration.

Boost creativity

In turn, five musical establishments created a “Creative Consortium” to commission contemporary composers: Avignon-Provence, Brittany, Cannes, Mulhouse, Picardy orchestras. An unprecedented initiative in France. “Contemporary music is becoming increasingly rare in French orchestras and this initiative gives visibility to current creations while limiting costs,” explains Alexis Labat, general manager of the Avignon-Provence national orchestra. The consortium is also a starting point for creating other relationships between its members.

Collaboration is also underway in cultural mediation, such as OrchestraLab, the first web platform for music games to introduce 7-11-year-olds to symphonic music. An initiative that brings together the National Orchestra of Ile-de-France, the Opéra de Rouen Normandie, the Orchester de chambre de Paris and NoMadMusic.

In Les Bis de Nantes, Christopher Miles, head of the Ministry of Culture’s Directorate General for Artistic Creativity, called for a “better product, better distribution” round table to “strengthen the logic of cooperation” and “the convergence of public and private cultural structures to extend diffusion”, while the trend still towards overproduction of shows that don’t turn around much.

Les Bis de Nantes is full

The International Show Biennale has become an event unique in its scale over the course of ten years. On January 11 and 12, 15,000 participants from 32 countries attracted the entire industry with 180 exhibitors. Its 160 forums and seminars reflected the concerns of the moment: concentration after the pandemic, the uneven return of the public and the dangers associated with the Olympic Games… Les Bis is both a showcase and a market with 270 producers and tour operators representing 3,500 shows. and a lobby where artists and professional federations meet. Culture Minister Rima Abdul Malak stayed there for six hours.

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