The Wiesbaden conference was a full and exciting programme: the Opera Management Course was the kick-off to the week, with 24 very able and creative young professionals who went on to act as moderators and conductors for the Open Space. This certainly challenged them, but they were up to the task and helped achieve the goals of building a strong community, innovating and evaluating.
Our breakout sessions allowed us to look at 3 different ways of staging opera performances: repertoire, stagione and festivals.
This led us to examine the issues around ensembles and it was particularly interesting hearing from Martin Ajdari of the Opéra national de Paris where they are forming a new ensemble to cast in small and medium sized roles both to develop a next generation of singers and avoid the travel and accommodation costs associated with guests. Lilli Paasikivi of Helsinki described how 4 years of hard negotiation has worked for them as their ensemble can now be integrated in the company with greater flexibility in small roles, chorus and even non-singing roles.
Most companies are extending and diversifying their education and outreach programmes, but a note of caution was sounded by some independents, as in some cases this had diverted funding away from the companies that had filled this programming hole.
Uwe Laufenberg and his team were generous and helpful hosts, and we enjoyed many a coffee break and the conference party in the beautiful surrounds of the foyer of the Fellner & Helmer opera house, as well as memorable performances.