Canarian Friends of the Opera (ACO) and the Gran Canaria Philharmonic Orchestra (OFGC) will begin to negotiate a new agreement that regulates the transfer of the Orchestra for the celebration of the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria-Alfredo Kraus Opera Season. “We have been called to normalize reality at this time, we are going to start the conversations, but always within the gratuity of the Orchestra as it has always been,” announced yesterday the president of ACO, Óscar Muñoz.
The agreement that regulates this transfer was signed in 2007 at the stage of José Manuel Soria at the head of the Cabildo, with a validity of four years until 2010. Since then, this already extinct benefit has not been reviewed or renewed, but has been It has been extending verbally, and now ten years later, a new agreement is being negotiated in order to normalize this situation.
In this regard, the president of ACO said that, despite the fact that this agreement lacks validity, “it is an agreement that, tacitly and even verbally, has been extended with the different heads of the Cabildo from Soria,” and that now “We are going to enter into negotiations with the Cabildo to make a new agreement.”
Óscar Muñoz wanted to make it clear that “although there was no such contract, and that is how it appears in the Foundation’s statutes [de la OFGC]It is a statutory obligation to participate actively in the Season, and it has always been a payment in kind that the Cabildo has made throughout the life of the Opera Season ”.
The 54th Season of ACO, which was presented yesterday at the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium, and which is held between February 23 and June 19, has a budget of 1.6 million euros, of which 215,000 euros are Cabildo, among the contributions of Culture, 150,000; Presidency, 50,000; and Tourism, 15,000 euros; in addition to the Philharmonic Orchestra.
The capital city council injects another 440,000 euros into the Opera; to which are added the sponsorships of the INAEM with 116,000 euros; and the Canary Islands Government, with 80,000 euros. Private sponsors and box office revenues raise the budget to the cited 1.6 million.
Drop in income
The continuity of financial support from the institutions, which have maintained and even raised the amount of subsidies for the festival somewhat, has made it possible for the 54th ACO Season not to be waived. “They have been the sustenance in these very difficult circumstances,” Oscar Muñoz highlighted yesterday in the presentation.
The 2021 Season will have “a totally spectacular cast” in each of its five productions this year as a result of the crisis in hiring singers by Covid-19, according to Ulises Jaén, artistic director of ACO. Although capacity reductions and other circumstances point to a reduction of more than half of its income at the box office: from 240,000 to only 100,000 euros.
Performers such as the Russian mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Semenchuk, “one of the three most important of the moment”, according to Jaén; the Uruguayan soprano María José Siri, “a regular at La Scala in Milan, the Metropolitan” and other renowned stages; the Canarian mezzo Nancy Fabiola Herrera; and the Toledo tenor Sergio Escobar, are part of the cast of the Season. In addition, the coronavirus has caused the Opera of Gran Canaria to “become Spanish” to avoid displacements and support Canarian artists.
The 54th Season has five titles of its own production with three performances, except La Cerentola, by Rossini, in April, with four days to complete capacity at the Galdós. The rest of the titles will be the Alfredo Kraus, with Verdi at the opening and closing. The opening is February 23 with Il trovatore, by Verdi; followed by Adriana Lecouvreur, from Cilea, in March; Cavalleria rusticana, by Mascagni, in May; and Verdi’s Macbeth in June.