Hermann Schneider's contract as director of the Landestheater was extended until 2026. In the interview, the 57-year-old talks about his reasons for staying, about his plans and about structures for promoting culture. Tomorrow, November 10th, he will also be discussing this with Christine Dollhofer (Crossing Europe Film Festival) and Daniela Pühringer (Kulturverein Ramlwirt, Neumarkt / M.) At the Linz Schauspielhaus (7 pm, free admission).
OÖNachrichten: How did you get premature renewal?
Hermann Schneider: In 2019, there has been a very substantive debate with politicians about why we are doing something in the theater. The fact that these discussions did not take place before had also to do with a finding process: I was new, the governor was new, besides we had big problems, in terms of budget cuts and the cancellation of the theater contract. Things are not all over the table, but it was gratifying for me not to look at culture from an organizational, political or economic point of view. But we weigh on a factual level, what is necessary to implement our Upper Austrian dramaturgy.
How do you define your Upper Austrian dramaturgy?
By that I mean a distinctiveness in our program, not without reference to classical fabrics. But we also want to try things that have to do with us, this country, this city. As in the play with Hans-Werner Kroesinger's research projects ("Swap – who owns the city?", "Myth VOEST", note), but also in the opera with a mixture of familiar, excavations, own versions and world premieres.
How do you manage the cuts?
It has become apparent that for some projects, special funding beyond the normal budget has been granted, as for the tour of the Bruckner Orchestra. In the double budget of the country it becomes clear that the relief continues, including the valorisation (index adjustment of the employee salaries, note).
They had offers from Germany and Scandinavia. Have you now financially improved at the Landestheater?
I would find it vile if I had complained of cuts. The more self-confident I had negotiated, the smaller would be my own range of action. That means: Only because of my better fee the budget for the stage sets would be smaller. The country can not spend the money twice.
Which content development, which productions do you plan? And will there be the Verdi, Puccini or Bellini works required by the public in the opera?
That definitely. We already had three Verdi operas and there will be one in the next season too. Puccini comes too, without giving away too much. At Bellini you have to be careful, because we have to look first. Together with Markus Poschner we will build up and expand the ensemble of singers, which we have significantly reduced, tailored to future projects. In principle, we want to continue the line of acting, but make it even more recognizable with world premieres and contemporary Austrian literature.
The topic on Sunday will be "Kulturförderung". Is there a long-term danger that the public sector will withdraw more and more?
What culture-politically achieves develops a society. If we sacrifice culture for the interests of the market economy, then the brutalization and diffusion of our society becomes more and more problematic. Culture is essential to develop communication. What made me so excited about the city of Linz when it came to the theater contract was that it was solidified by a cultural institution. That means something when a city says it does not want that anymore. What we experienced in Italy with the Five-Star Movement or with Salvini is a result of Berlusconi's cultural policies. And I maintain that Brexit is a late consequence of Thatcherism, a catastrophic cultural policy. At that time, it was already based on turbo-capitalism, and for this purpose orchestras were canceled and theaters and cultural houses were closed.
Discussion on Sunday
Sunday, 10. 11., 19.00, Schauspielhaus Linz: Hermann Schneider and Peter Grubmüller discuss with Christine Dollhofer (Crossing Europe Filmfestival) and Daniela Pühringer (Kulturverein Ramlwirt, Neumarkt iM) about "Kulturförderung". Admission is free, tickets from 18.30 clock.
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