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OPERA

Paris Opera offers cheap tickets to young fans

With this season's line up revealed on Wednesday and the new director hungry for a younger audience, Paris Opera has announced that people under the age of 28 will be able to get discounted tickets.

Paris Opera offers cheap tickets to young fans
Le Palais Garnier, home of Paris Opera. Photo: Treye Rice/Flickr
New director Stephane Lissner, formerly head of the Scala in Milan, will offer 18 new productions for the 2015/2016 season and re-run 14 others, despite budgetary constraints.
   
"Faced with a crisis, you have to go on the attack and produce more," said Lissner.
   
"This generates financing, brings in the public, sponsors, co-productions, television, tours," he added.
   
Lissner promised to present a "balanced" programme with more traditional productions interspersed with "artists who question the world without taboos."
   
"My choice was to present both Schoenberg's 'Moses und Aron' and Verdi's popular trilogy," he said.
   
The Paris Opera — spread out over two sites in the capital including the famous Garnier Palace in central Paris — hiked prices last year.
   
But it is now poised to introduce a new youth policy already instituted by Lissner in Milan.
   
The average age of the Paris Opera's 750,000 spectators per year is 46, which is younger than the median age for classical concerts in France that currently stands at 61.
 

Le Grande Foyer in Le Palais Garnier. Photo: Peter/Flickr
   
But in a bid to attract even younger spectators, the opera will put on 13 preview showings (25,000 seats) at the reduced price of €10 euros for opera-goers under the age of 28.
   
Lissner has vowed to make the Paris Opera the world's "number one" destination for opera buffs with "the best conductors, the best singers and the best directors."
   
The 2015/2016 season will be dominated by Verdi with two new productions of "Rigoletto" and "Il Trovatore", as well as a re-run of "La Traviata."
   
Among the more "radical" directors lined up will be Poland's Krzysztof Warlikowski, who will direct a version of Bela Bartok's "Bluebeard's Castle."
 

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OPERA

Paris Opera reopens doors after weeks of strikes

The Paris Opera reopened on Saturday night after weeks of strike action against the French government's pension reforms that have cost the arts organisation millions of euros in ticketing losses.

Paris Opera reopens doors after weeks of strikes
A publicity photo for Tales of Hoffmann. Photo: The Paris Opera
Dancers and musicians have been striking alongside public sector workers to oppose the government's plan to scrap more than 40 separate pension schemes and replace them with a single points-based system.
   
More than 70 shows have been cancelled since December at a loss of nearly 15 million euros ($16.5 million)  — greater than the state's annual contribution to the Opera pension fund.
   
But on Saturday night, its Bastille venue opened its doors for the Tales of Hoffman.
   
“To preserve the economic integrity of the Opera, we have made the decision to go ahead with the performance this evening, but we remain mobilised for the withdrawal of this bill,” said a union representative at the start of the performance, in a statement recorded by a spectator and posted on Twitter.
   
It is unclear whether other planned performances will now go ahead.
   
The special retirement plan for the Paris Opera, which allows dancers to bow out at age 42, was introduced in 1698 by king Louis XIV — making it among the oldest in France.
   
The retirement age was set by taking into account the physical arduousness of the job, the high injury risk, and the assumption that most dancers cannot continue performing at their best beyond a certain age.
   
The French state covers half of the Paris Opera's pension fund, about 14 million euros per year.
   
The cancellation of several top ballet, opera, and theatre shows in Paris has disappointed tourists and locals who need to book long in advance for the pricey seats.
   
Dancers have staged outdoor performances in Paris in a show of support for the public sector strikes, which have triggered weeks of transport chaos
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