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A tailored pantsuit

In this age of inflation, is it really necessary for every choir member to receive a tailored pantsuit with the latest cut?

This is the case at some major festivals and theaters in Austria. Today, when we talk about recycling and consumerism in order to protect the health of our planet, cultural managers are bowing to the whims of some directors and costume designers.

In some of these festivals, the costumes are often used to dress the chorus and soloists for a few performances, with no prospect of being rented or bought by other festivals and theaters.

I wonder how it is possible that someone sitting in the office of the artistic director of a festival or opera, knowing that costs are rising due to the economic crisis, war and post-Covidian trauma, can still accept that the budget of the institution he or she directs is largely used to finance the construction of stages with a foreseeable expiry date and costumes that are put into storage.

At the same time, the salaries of the artists on stage and the musicians in the orchestra pit are getting smaller and smaller. A soloist in a provincial theater who begins his/her career today earns barely 1,800 euros gross per month. A chorus singer starting out earns 1,500 euros. Does anyone really believe that it is not fairer to pay those who really carry the musical weight of the work?

There is a lot of talk that theaters should do more to attract more spectator:in to theaters, and the only thing we can think of is to continue the management models typical of the pre-crisis era in the production of performances?

There's little point in hiring social media content managers in the hope that we'll attract new audiences by posting banal videos on Tik-Tok if we don't project a contemporary image. It's not about producing operas and operettas with a new "more Netflix" makeup, it's about communicating a love of music and the works of brilliant and timeless composers. This is done through a commitment to the repertoire if one truly believes in it. The salesperson:in who loves his/her product doesn't decorate it, but puts it in the front row of the store window. He/she knows how to sell it, proclaims it loud and clear, and the buyer:in comes into his/her store infected by the seller's enthusiasm.

Not only is it unnecessary to order tailored suits for a chorister, but the new generations are asking us to become more aware of global warming and commit to different production models so that we do not continue to encourage the production of waste. This is not only unnecessary, but even immoral.

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