russian version |
about DE I |
manifesto |
this number |
archive |
where to find |
office |
contacts |
friends |

on Top |
special project |
DE I music |


Text: Roksolana Chernoba

Ioan Holender is famous in the world of arts for being a rough but dramatically successful manager. He has been the head of the Vienna State Opera since the early 1990’s and is known for not being too delicate with opera stars: he does not pay much, shuts the capricious feats by prima donnas, but no-one complains (except maybe for Olga Borodina who was thrown away from her own debut). It is Ioan Holender who provides picky Viennese crowd with opera as the most luxurious entertainment. He has made a record among his colleagues: in Viennese Opera, curtain comes up every night for nine months every year. He speaks to Roksolana Chernoba of his way of living and working, about opera personalities of today, and how to handle them. The following cuts reveal the essence of his management philosophy.

The Vienna State Opera is very important for Austria and the people who live here. Once, this country was huge and played a very important role. It was the Empire of the Habsburgs and our theater officially represented this huge country. After 1918, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was destroyed, and our nation happened to be very small. However the theater preserved its size, and consequently its colossal importance. For comparison, imagine the huge Russia becoming very-very small. The reputation of the Bolshoi and Mariinsky Theaters would not suffer. The meaning of theater does not change in relation to politics.

Our theater is also a symbol of identity for the Viennese, and for our enseble who take pride in this building. In 1944 the theater was totally ruined because of direct bombing. One of the first decisions of the Government was the order to re-establish the theater. Noone criticized this step! In 1955, the reconstruction was finished and the theater was re-opened. In 2005 we celebrated this “Second Opening” of the theater with a gala concert.

Vienna people are very critical. Both politicians and citizens are very attentive to every public person’s step; they ask questions, they discuss everything. I am being recognized even by taxi drivers here, by those who hardly know who is the Prime Minister or the President. I have been keeping my position for over 15 years, which is an absolute record for the Vienna Opera. Many people think I play not only cultural role, but an important political role.

As a common member of the opera audience, I am very proud of the beauty and the acoustics of this theater. As the director I take pride in our active program for children, the so-called “Opera Terrace”. I am proud that I was the first man who engaged a lady to conduct an opera. The result was, that in the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the permanent orchestra of our theater, started to invite women to play. What else can I be proud of? The fact that many young people, stars of today, started their career here.

In 1989 I came to Moscow and arranged an audition on the premises of Stanislavski and Nemirovich-Danchenko Theater. I saw this singer from Siberia, beautiful both externally and in what regards to vocals, it was the young Dmitry Khvorostovsky. Then there was Vladimir Chernov. Your Annoushka (Netrebko – DE I) sang her first Traviata in Vienna before she came to Salzburg. Of course it was her phenomenal success in Salzburg that came to be a part of history, but first she won the hearts of all the Vienna audience. I feel very emphatic towards this incredible girl. I appreciate not just her image as an opera star, but also a wonderful personality.

In my work, I feel a lot of satisfaction and happiness. My music teachers and my mother used to tell me that I should study to become a great singer. These were the happiest moments of my life. Sometimes, not very often, I leave the theater with the thought that I am totally satisfied with what I have done. But a couple of times, I was asking myself, “Why do you do that if it is so hard and hopeless?” The only possible way out is to make yourself come to the absolute as close as possible. Sometimes you can come closer, while most often you stay far. …...


All materials published at this web resource are property of DE I/DESILLISIONIST magazine.
Any usage of these materials is forbidden without written consent of the magazine editor.