The Paris Opera, a crisis and projects



Day after day, week after week, month after month, the prolonged closure of the Paris Opera (Garnier and Bastille) puts the establishment, if not in danger, at least in great economic difficulty.

While presenting, this Monday, February 8, the conclusions and recommendations of the mission on diversity entrusted to Constance Rivière and Pap Ndiaye, Alexander Neef, Director General of the Paris Opera, drew up a worrying assessment. While insisting on ” the commitment of a house fully to work and several artistic challenges that have been met “.

And to quote the Ring by Wagner broadcast on France Musique for the end of year celebrations, the daily and diligent work of the Opera Academy, that of the Dance School which is preparing its show for the end of April, or the promising launch of the online platform “The Opera at Home”.

New productions

Despite numerous cancellations at the start of 2021, new productions remain on the program, such as Aida by Verdi which will be captured by Arte and made available on February 18 or Faust de Gounod available on Culturebox from March 25. These two operas will also be “ accessible in cinemas as soon as they can reopen », Adds Alexander Neef.

In terms of choreography, ” in an extremely strict respect of the sanitary instructions », Ensures the director of dance Aurélie Dupont – who details the meticulous procedures and regular tests – the dancers rehearse the ballets planned for this spring. The park by Angelin Preljocaj or Notre Dame of Paris by Roland Petit. ” We measure our luck to work every day when so many artists are deprived of it, even though we miss the public very much », Concludes Aurélie Dupont.

Resources that cap

The Paris Opera looks to its future with financial concern, forecasting a loss of 30 million euros over 2020-2022, despite exceptional state aid. Martin Ajdari, Deputy Director General, recalls that the overall budget of the institution (230 million euros) is only covered 44% by public subsidies – ” while other theaters show a ratio of 65 to 85% “.

But, even before the crisis upsets its economic model a little more, ” the opera had reached a ceiling »: If its own resources have increased by 50% in ten years, a limit seems indeed reached.

Especially since the house calls for new investments in maintenance and renovation of buildings, so far postponed. ” We voted for a loss of 21 million euros for 2021, continues Martin Ajdari. But the year started badly without any representation and I fear that we should foresee 10 to 20 million additional losses …

“The Opera at home”

In this gloomy landscape, the launch of the “L’Opéra chez soi” platform in December 2020 looks like a shy ray of sunshine. ” 13,372 tickets were sold for The Bayadere, that is to say 5 Bastilles filled! As for the Gala de la danse, including the parade of the entire Ballet, it has been seen more than 116,000 times. », Congratulate Martin Ajdari and Aurélie Dupont.

To see from home: the Opera ballet in gala dress

With an audience of two-thirds female and a “bonus” granted by Internet users to dance rather than lyrical art, “L’Opéra chez soi” reached nearly 400,000 households in a catalog of 79 videos – shows , behind-the-scenes reports, rehearsals… – already posted online. ” The prices of € 11.90 for new programs and € 7.90 for the catalog are approved by the public. We are thinking about further improving the technical fluidity of the platform “.

Projecting into the future … as much as possible

The troubled times want the performing arts to keep making and undoing their calendars, adapting and modifying their programming. In the current state of health, the Paris Opera is however announcing the resumption of lyrical and choreographic performances from the beginning of May.

Note, in particular, the creation of the Satin shoe after Paul Claudel from the pen of the composer Marc-André Dalbavie or the ballet The Red and the Black in a Pierre Lacotte choreography and ” whose sets are in progress », Indicates Aurélie Dupont.

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