CULTURE

Hard times for National Opera

Shortly after the resignation of Odysseas Kyriakopoulos, chairman of the National Opera’s board of directors – who named the organization’s serious financial difficulties as his reason for stepping down – the institution has begun sending out a clear emergency signal. Earlier this week, the board decided to postpone the premiere of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera «Rigoletto,» originally scheduled to start performances on October 7, due to the upcoming elections and the problems caused by a ban on hiring new staff members. A new date has been set for the premiere – October 30. Costas Yiannidis’s Greek operetta «To mikrovio tou erota» (Bitten by the Love Bug) at the Acropol Theater and Johann Strauss’s «Die Fledermaus,» destined for the Children’s Stage, also saw their premieres postponed, the new dates now being December 12 and 25 respectively. According to an announcement, National Opera artistic director Giovanni Pacor and the board of directors jointly decided to cut the budget for the 2009-10 season by 1,100,000 euros. The statement ended with an appeal to the Ministry of Culture, on behalf of the board, for the company’s funding to be granted immediately, to ensure the opera’s harmonious operation.