Romanian Culture Minister resigns after Opera scandal

Romanian Minister of Culture Vlad Alexandrescu resigned on Wednesday after a three-week scandal at the National Opera in Bucharest, which had a strong echo in the country and abroad.

Alexandrescu mentioned the “opaque resistance to structural change” he tried to initiate in local cultural institutions and the “constant hostility of the refractory system” to the search for new ways of operating in public cultural institutions, such as the main reasons for his resignation, in an open letter. to Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos, which he posted on his Facebook page.

Vlad Alexandrescu has been one of the busiest and most popular ministers in Dacian Ciolos’ technocratic cabinet over the past five months. He had several important initiatives, such as the decision to include the village of Rosia Montana and its ancient Roman galleries in the list of historical monuments, which put an end to the gold mining project in the area.

Alexandrescu also launched a program to consolidate decaying historic buildings in Romania and launched a public subscription to raise the funds needed to purchase the famous Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi. Wisdom of the Earth (Cumintenia Pamantului) sculpture.

However, he failed to manage the conflict between the Opers ballet company and the institution’s Romanian employees, which began with his decision to appoint young Romanian conductor Tiberiu Soare as acting director of the Bucharest National Opera on April 4. Soare’s first decision was to remove Danish choreographer Johan Kobborg from the position of artistic director of the Opera, which started the whole scandal. The minister’s decision to replace Soare with conductor Vlad Conta as acting director of the Opera has solved nothing.

Kobborg announced his resignation on April 12, saying he could not work with the Opera’s new management, and many dancers from his ballet company, including famed Romanian ballerina Alina Cojocaru, who is also his fiancée, followed him and said they wouldn’t dance. at the Bucharest Opera more. Several Romanian Opera employees rallied against the foreign dancers, asking them to leave and saying the state should help provide more opportunities for local artists.

Faced with an outpouring of hostility from the institution, Kobborg and Cojocaru met with the Prime Minister and told him that their plan to develop a modern ballet company at the Bucharest Opera had met with strong resistance from the new management of the Opera.

To bring them back, Vlad Alexandrescu again decided to change the director of the Opera and brought back the former deputy general manager George Calin at the head of the institution. This decision, however, angered Romanian employees of the Opera who supported Tiberiu Soare and strongly contested George Calin, a member of the former management team, who is under investigation for corruption. The employees of the Opera demonstrate and the minister must once again reconsider his decision and withdraw the appointment of George Calin.

However, the conflict did not stop there and Opera employees continued their protests and boycotted three performances that were due to take place last week. One of them was the ballet DSCH.The Dream.

Famous ballet dancers Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg have been banned from entering the Bucharest National Opera

As the situation became explosive, Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos sent Deputy Prime Minister Vasile Dincu to hear from Opera employees and try to find a solution. Neither side wanted to talk to the Minister of Culture anymore, showing that his decisions had managed to irritate both sides. Thus, the resignation of Alexandrescu was not a surprise because many voices demanded it.

Even Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos said that Alexandrescu succeeded in launching the reform of local cultural institutions, except for the Opera.

“Unfortunately, a series of difficult decisions and tensions accumulated over time determined the reform process that Vlad tried at the Opera to go in a different direction than we wanted,” Ciolos wrote in a post on Facebook.

“I am not happy at all that it was necessary to come here to defuse the situation and I appeal to all those involved in the future of the National Opera to understand that mutual tolerance, dialogue and awareness of the responsibility of the artistic act are essential to pass on”, concluded Ciolos.

Romanian Prime Minister reacts after scandal at Bucharest Opera: We need valuable artists and performances

Vlad Alexandrescu is the third cabinet minister of Dacian Ciolos who left this month. The minister of labor and the minister of European funds also resigned.

Romanian Prime Minister promotes another of his advisers to the post of minister

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Helen D. Jessen