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A Miscarriage of Justice


I love opera passionately. This is the reason for this blog, which is now in danger to disappear.

In the spring of 2016, I chose to sound an alarm regarding the situation at Bucharest National Opera, during the huge scandal that triggered the ousting of Johan Kobborg, artistic manager of the ballet company, and of Alina Cojocaru, the most important Romanian ballerina. Some tens of important other dancers left the company together with them, and proved afterwards the value they had acquired while working under Johan Kobborg’s management, as they went to international ballet companies.

A unique situation in the musical world: not a single Romanian music critic wrote about those events. Nevertheless, the international media (New York Times, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Associated Press or Radio Free Europe and many others) did it and denounced the chauvinism of the artistic environment in Romania, a country which had been a member of the EU for a decade already. Several Romanian journalists (whose names I will not mention here, precisely because I do not want to forget someone) wrote about the events, in articles that reminded everyone, and first of all, reminded those who were mistaken, what were the values that the BNO “collective” were trampling on (that “Out of this country!”so indecently shouted to Alina Cojocaru in front of the Opera by a group of employees of the institution, but also the fact that for three times, performances were stopped and spectators were forced to leave the hall). It is painful for me to repeat: the Romanian critics and musicologists continued to keep silent.

Under these circumstances, taking into account the reputation of this blog and also my position as a representative of another style of music journalism (in my quality of correspondent for the British magazine Opera), I would have never forgiven myself if I had kept silent. I wrote several articles and I roasted the nationalism, always pompous, high and mighty, of those who did their best to chase the “foreigners” out of the Opera. The comments of those reading my texts on the blog or on Facebook abounded, and they expressed consternation, revolt and helplessness in front of this situation.

Despite all this, at the end of the scandal, none of the BNO employees who had had an abusive behaviour was sanctioned. Nobody was fired. Nobody was even penalised. And the Control Body of the Prime Minister, sent to investigate the situation at the BNO, has not published any conclusion until today, more than one year later. And the artists’ salaries were increased by 50% at the beginning of this year.

Total success: Kobborg was ousted, Alina Cojocaru was not allowed to enter BNO, the interim management was fired (and the present management, still interim, pretty intimidated), the Opera and the Operetta were separated etc.

Bucharest National Opera’s latest success? No, it is not a premiere with Jonas Kaufmann invited to sing Otello in a new production. No. Their latest success is the trial that Irina Iordăchescu and Tiberiu Soare won these days against me. This verdict can be appealed. I do not accept it and I consider it a miscarriage of justice.

With this, I will separate the topic of the trial from the activity of the blog Despre Opera. This is going to be the only article about this subject. I am looking forward to seeing you on Opera vs. Critic, where I will explain that the verdict of the lower court is a miscarriage of justice that practically reduces the audience to a claque that has no right to comment about anything, the artistic act included.

I will try to stay outside the stereotype of the man who justifies himself with a huge file from where he takes, one by one, sheets of paper aiming at kindling the public indignation towards the injustice he has suffered. It will not be this way. At present, the freedom of expression and, by extension, the freedom of the press are in danger.

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