Opera Europa’s live events during the past six months in Prague, Barcelona, Budapest and Amsterdam have involved more than 600 active members. Each conference has introduced new participants to our work, while at the same time renewing professional friendships. Such gatherings engender fresh ideas, lively debate and fruitful networking. Most importantly, they build trust. Every company values its own special identity and relationship with its own audience, but shared projects add up to more than the sum of their parts. Working together makes opera stronger.
OperaVision is the most extensive cooperative partnership in the European cultural portfolio. In no way is it designed to supplant live opera, but it certainly helps expand opera’s reach. Other initiatives this autumn have been targeted towards fostering the next generation of artists and managers. The European Opera-directing Prize will break new ground with its 13th edition. The second Eva Kleinitz Scholarships will offer support to the most talented young singers at the start of their professional careers. The 9th Opera Management Course will identify and train aspiring managers dedicated to the profession. Our fundraising aims to encourage colleagues in Ukraine at this time of maximum need.
This newsletter publishes my 79th and last editorial. During almost 20 years, Audrey and I have curated 40 major conferences, which have been hosted in 37 different cities in 22 European countries. You may read the list of places and themes on the opposite page. We have firm dates and locations for a further three conferences from 2023 to spring 2024. Not all have been equally successful, but each has had its special moments and will be remembered for its unexpected encounters and insights.
My own memorable experiences include snow impeding departures from wintry Riga; the magical creation of Santiago Calatrava’s Palau de les Arts in Valencia; the first European Opera Forum presided over by Gerard Mortier in Paris; the revelation of Snøhetta’s new Opera House in Oslo; the generous banquets in Warsaw and Budapest and Venice; Colm Tóibín’s address in Wexford and Neil MacGregor’s in Berlin; our pioneering visit to Kyiv and Verdi pilgrimage to Parma; the launch of the Opera Platform and the first World Opera Forum in resplendent Madrid; the return to life in Bergamo after the pandemic; Prague proving the perfect conference city on two occasions; and my personal favourite evening when Brno presented a unique concert of The Folk Roots of Leoš Janáček’s Works followed by a Moravian wine tasting and later supplemented by visiting the composer’s home in Hukvaldy.
But far more important than my nostalgia is what you, the members, derive from these meetings. Opera Europa belongs to its members, and it is your input which is and will continue to be the key to its success. It concerns me when I notice that a company has not been using our services or is absent from our events, live or online. I rejoice when a new member joins or, still better, contributes to a conference. Remember that you are our most persuasive advocates. A personal recommendation may lead to us enrolling a new member, who will in turn enrich the association. Our dedicated Opera Europa team are ever ready to respond to such introductions and ensure a warm welcome. I know that they, fortified by the arrival of Karen, will not rest in their ambition to make Opera Europa the most comprehensive, responsive and practically helpful association possible for the benefit of opera in Europe and beyond.