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?
World-renowned conductor Jiří Bělohlávek is set to swap London and the BBC Symphony Orchestra for Prague and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. But he has twice resigned from posts when politicians failed to deliver on their promises, and Czech Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek has not released a promised Kč 150 million to raise the meagre salaries of the musicians soon to be under Bělohlávek’s baton.
Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek (TOP 09) has saddled the directors of the Czech Philharmonic and National Theater with a thankless task: they must explain to the members of these prestigious orchestras why the salary increases promised by the Ministry of Culture last autumn — and very publicly at that — never appeared in their pay stubs.