Warsaw opera protests subsidy cuts with street requiem

29 May 2012
People stand in front of the Warsaw Chamber Opera
People stand in front of the Warsaw Chamber Opera in 2011. The Warsaw opera renowned for its summer Mozart programme played a requiem on Tuesday in front of the culture ministry to protest against public funding cuts that have put its future in jeopardy

The Warsaw opera, renowned for its summer Mozart programme, played a requiem on Tuesday in front of the culture ministry to protest against public funding cuts that have put its future in jeopardy.

Officials from the region of Warsaw decided in March to slash 2012 subsidies to the Warsaw Chamber Opera by a quarter to 14.9 million zloty (3.5 million euros) in a bid to keep public spending in check in tough times.

Touting itself as the world's only opera house to perform all of Mozart's stage works every summer, the Warsaw Opera will perform the marathon programme this year from June 15 to July 26, but ensemble officials warned it could be the final curtain come August.

With the subsidies cut, the opera house will no longer be able to pay salaries after the summer season, nor will it manage to afford its rent in central Warsaw. Director Stefan Sutkowski has announced he will resign once the Mozart festival is over.

Tuesday's protest saw the opera musicians, decked out in evening attire, perform Mozart's Requiem under ominous dark, clouds for a fervent audience of hundreds.

The musicians had earlier delivered a petition of 27,000 signatures to the culture ministry to save the Warsaw Opera, and at a Saturday evening open house, they also played a number of Mozart pieces late into the night.

With only 159 seats at the opera, tickets were eagerly snapped up for the majority of programmes proposed by Sutkowski, known for breathing new life into the works of long-forgotten or unjustly overlooked composers.

The opera house has been packed for the last 22 years during the Mozart Festival, when all of Mozart's stage pieces are played over the course of a couple weeks -- "a one-of-a-kind performance," according to the director.

What to read next

7 Tricks To Get The Most Out Of Home Alarm Systems

Here are a few things your alarm system can do for you, and some ways you can help your alarm system provide protection.

Is it Time to Retire?

If you have a $500,000 portfolio, download “The 15-Minute Retirement Plan” by Forbes columnist Ken Fisher’s firm.

Drivers With No Tickets In 3 Years Must Read This

United States drivers are surprised that they never knew this. If you drive less than 50 miles per day you better read this...

Resort-style amenities in Loudoun County

Enjoy privacy in a new, secluded cul-de-sac home while taking in breathtaking views. Community includes trails, gym and huge pool. From the low $600s.

15 Cancer Causing Foods You Probably Eat Every Day

Do you eat any of these cancer causing foods? Number 12 will surprise you. Check out the list now.

What is an Annuity?

May be your key to guaranteed retirement income. Get your free report here.