Coronavirus: Paris opera house loses about 50% of subscriptions for 2020-2021

Published by Rizhlaine F., Laurent P. · Photos by Laurent P. · Updated on 16 July 2020 at 12h52 · Published on 16 July 2020 at 12h11
Paris Opera house is in a very bad way with a 40-million-euro loss director Stéphane Lissney says. Recovery might be a major challenge, with about half of subscriptions for 2020-2021 being lost.

For the Opéra de Paris the impact of coronavirus comes with heavy consequences. If losses because of lockdown exceed 40 million euros, recovery will be difficult as about 50% of subscriptions for the 2020-2021 season are being lost and sponsorship decreases down by a third.

Ggeneral manager of the Parisian institution, Stéphane Lissner, said earlier in May, on France Inter that “The Opéra de Paris will find itself lacking of working capital and a 40-million-euro loss” while guaranteeing “there will be no bankruptcy”.

This loss can be explained by the crisis of course, but not only, since the manager also says – still on France Inter – that the institution “self-finance to over 60%”. He adds that for ten years, the State has cut up to 15 million euros off its financial participation. A loss of income that played a part in this deficiency.

Over a month later, in an interview with Le Monde, Stéphane Lissner describes a situation implying drastic measures, saying ""Paris Opera is on its knees". Therefore, the director announces he will leave by the end of 2020, before his mandate ends: until then, the institution might not enjoy working capital. He will step aside for Alexander Neef.

He says he has no choice: strikes prior to the coronavirus crisis caused adjournments, the program 2021-2021 has been made softer to compensate losses. "I refuse to go further. It is not me, who will no longer be within those walls, to cancel productions. And even less saying which one should be".

What about the reopening? The director says that officially, Paris Opera will remain shut until July 15, 2020. Yet 80% of the artists living abroad and keeping the program up depends on the liberty of moving bewteen countries until then. Paris Opéra Bastille will reopen on November 15, 2020, and the Palais Garnier is going under renovations until late December, but Stéphane Lissner says he wants to plan "starting from September 15, two or three concerts a week, chamber music style, before the iron curtain is lifted".

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