Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Not over until the fat lady cries wolf

‘People think that the federal theatres live in the lap of luxury. But here we count every roll of toilet paper. There’s zero scope to do otherwise.’ Thus complains an anonymous Staatsoper employee who insists that the house is owed a public subsidy increase after a freeze which has lasted for years. The outrage is manufactured right on cue in a classic move from the Holender playbook – albeit one which Holender himself, for all his flaws, practiced a hundred times more subtly – intended to hush the hostile noises which have bounced around the Viennese echo chamber over the past few days. Sven Hartberger on his own could have been politely disregarded, but now Sinkovicz has made a none too helpful intervention, arguing in his typically fatuous style that a house for contemporary music theatre could well be funded using money allegedly wasted by the holding company which manages the city’s federal theatres. Add Klaus Bachler’s finger-pointing to the mix and the resulting clamour for Vienna’s most feared c-word has reached a pitch only the most desperate appeal can hope to silence. And here it is: with reserve funds dried up and a season in danger of ending in the red, the house might be forced to cut down to *five* performances a week. In a house where quantity is everything, a grim thought indeed for the Staatsoper’s most loyal patrons.

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