Among the neo-liberal plans made by the government of the new right, which came to power in 2004, was the upgrading and updating of the arts in Greece. Unfortunately, all this really amounted to was the re-sourcing of those who had gone abroad, among them Stefanos Lazaridis, who was appointed director of the National Opera House. Problems soon arose, first when the size of the salaries he paid – to himself, his entourage and colleagues – was leaked. Second, audiences stayed away and the dancers of the NOH Ballet performed in front of empty seats for the first time in years.
Rumour has it that more complementary tickets than ever before were sent out in order to fill the place. Third, the director went ahead with a controversial decision to alter the main auditorium, despite the warnings of architects regarding the safety and acoustics of the venue. To top it all, he and his ballet mistress Ms Seymour appointed apparently under-qualified staff for the School of the NOH.
The board of directors fired Stefanos Lazaridis, leaving the National Opera wounded, and many people who had hoped for change disillusioned. Lazaridis has been described by an ex-colleague as a director who ...