CULTURE

Emergency funding arrives to cover running salary costs at Greece’s poverty-stricken National Opera

It’s been a while since the National Opera was on the receiving end of some good news. The organization has just been granted emergency funding of 2 million euros, an amount that, nevertheless, will not alleviate all of its financial burdens. According to a recent statement issued by the company, the funding will cover running salary costs. Also expected is the company’s new program for the current season, particularly now, given its improved financial position. There is little doubt that the National Opera has been experiencing its worse crisis in recent years. Odysseas Kyriakopoulos, the chairman of its board of directors, resigned last month, citing the organization’s serious financial difficulties, notably a 10-million-euro deficit, as his reason for stepping down. Subsequently, the board of directors decided to postpone the company’s curtain raiser, Verdi’s «Rigoletto,» initially scheduled to run from October 7 to 30. The board stated that complications due to the upcoming elections and the ban on hiring new staff as reasons for the new date. Costas Yannidis’s operetta «To mikrovio tou erota» (Bitten by the Love Bug) and Johann Strauss’s «Die Fledermaus» (destined for the Children’s Stage) have also been given new opening dates, December 12 and December 25 respectively. The National Opera is turning into a hot potato for the Ministry of Culture.