Following the May 2010 parliamentary elections, responsibility for the performing arts fell to Czech deputy culture minister Radek Zdráhal. He didn’t like what he saw at the Prague State Opera — losses and less than transparent management — and this month filed a criminal complaint against an unknown perpetrator over questionable contracts and other alleged irregularities. But why didn’t the Culture Ministry act?
Outgoing Minister of Culture Jiří Besser (TOP 09) announced with pride he was a manager, not an artist, with grand plans to bring order to the Culture Ministry and the organizations it oversees, yet he twice “forgot” to account for his stake in the Florida company Comoros Group LLC. Could it really be that he has an eye for detail only when it comes to state property? What is his true legacy?
Supporters of the Prague State Opera (SOP) company have stepped up their campaign to save the stand-alone company by handing in an 18,000 signature petition against its merger with the National Theater (ND) to Parliament. The merger under the direction of the ND is being pushed by the Culture Ministry, which says it is the only way for the two institutions to survive.
The Ministry of Culture has said that two separate opera ensembles in Prague have proved unworkable and has announced plans to combine them under National Theater leadership. The Prague State Opera will continue in name and some of its separate units will be safeguarded but under one single administration.