Spain’s economic crisis has forced Barcelona’s Liceu opera house to delay the opening of its 2011-2012 season by a month and could lead to temporary layoffs at the famous theatre. The theatre said it will start next season with Charles Gounod’s “Faust” on October 7, instead of in September.
The Liceu said cuts in subsidies by the Spanish Culture Ministry and the regional government of Catalonia have reduced its 2011-2012 budget to euro48.4 million ($66 million), down euro10 million ($14 million) from two years ago. The company is in talks with its choir and orchestra in a bid to avoid temporary layoffs for that month.
The Liceu will raise ticket prices for its more popular shows. It will maintain them for lesser-known works, and lower prices for ballet. Despite the shortened opera season, it will still stage 119 shows in 2011-2012, just five fewer than the current season.
“We are entering a new era in terms of financing, given that, as of now, money generated by the theatre outweighs public subsidies,” Theater manager Ana Serrano told reporters on presenting the figures Monday.
Next season, public subsidies will represent 48 percent of the Liceu’s income, down from 52 percent. The theatre said it had reduced publications and re-negotiated contracts with companies who service the theater in a bid to reduce costs. The Liceu — which opened in 1847 — now employs 395 people, reduced from 441 following layoffs last year.