Bucharest Municipality (PMB) stated on Tuesday evening that soprano Angela Gheorghiu (photo) accepted the title of honorary citizen of Bucharest an the Key of the City and expressly demanded that the awarding ceremony of this distinction will take place on December 1, but one evening before she communicated through an e-mail that she will participate only if the Mayor will intervene to the National Agency for Fiscal Administration (ANAF) in order for the institution to clear her debts. The Bucharest Municipality’s reaction comes after soprano Angela Gheorghiu sent a message to the Romanian politicians asking them not to take advantage of the successes obtained by the personalities in our country for “their small interests”, referring to the recent gesture made by Gabriela Firea to grant the Key of Bucharest to the tennis player Simona Halep.
According to the Municipality’s representatives, on September 11 of the last year, Bucharest General Council (CGMB) approved a draft decision granting the title of honorary citizen of Bucharest “as a sign of appreciation and gratitude for promoting Bucharest and Romania in the world”. The soprano accepted, according to the Municipality, and thanked to the Mayor and the Council for this.
PMB also says that the soprano performed in the Constitution Square on September 15, 2017, on the occasion of the Bucharest Days, and the fee received from the Municipality through ARCUB was EUR 144,906, VAT included.
“Regarding the awarding ceremony for the title of honorary citizen and of the Key of the City of Bucharest, at the express request of the artist, it was agreed that the event will take place on December 1, on the occasion of Romania’s National Day. The representatives of the Bucharest Municipality made all the steps in order to organize this event at the Royal Palace, on the date requested by Miss Angela Gheorghiu” the Bucharest Municipality said in a press release.
According to the institution, Angela Gheorghiu announce done evening before, through an e-mail that she cannot participate in the ceremony any longer, due to personal reasons, and conditioned her participation by “solving certain fiscal problems”.
“Specifically, the artist requested to the General Mayor to intervene to the District 2 Taxes and Fees Directorate or to ANAF, in order to clear some debts she has, representing unpaid taxes and fees. Bucharest Mayor didn’t do anything related to this request, since she has no legal capacity to solve such issues” the Municipality explained.
One day before, soprano Angela Gheorghiu sent a message to the Romanian politicians through the social networks, asking them not to take advantage anymore of the successes obtained by personalities in our country for “their small interests”, referring to the recent gesture made by Gabriela Firea to grant the Key of Bucharest to the tennis player Simona Halep.
Gheorghiu said she is “disillusioned” with the Bucharest General Mayor “because you continued to use the name of some great personalities, granting them the key and the honorary citizenship of Bucharest”.
She told how she refused the signs of the city in last September.
“With a world career since 1990 until today, I am also an example for the Romanian elite and intellectuals who do not let themselves manipulated by you; yes, I want to underline that I refused the key and the honorary citizenship of Bucharest in September 2017, on the occasion of my concert, offered to the Romanian audience by the Bucharest Municipality. I refused these honors also on December 1, 2017, on the occasion of Romania’s National Day. I sent you right at that moment, on December 1, 2017, an email with an excuse, honestly believing that you are going to grant me these distinctions only for what I represent in the world of international art, and not in order for you to be able to use my name for your political image. I felt at that time that my work and notoriety will be used by you, and this is why I refused”.
Gheorghiu added: “I found out that on the same day of December 1, you granted the key and the honorary citizenship of Bucharest to the six personalities who answered affirmatively, as according to an order. I don’t know what these 6 personalities who were invited on the same day, on the morning of December 1 to be honored quickly instead of me, have felt”.
She stressed that she wants such distinctions only as a recognition of her work and said it is a lack of elegance for a politician to use the success of an internationally renowned artist.
“I’ve always wanted and I still want these honors from my country to be granted to me only for my work and for my dedication to art, for the career that I had worldwide over 28 years. There are many ways to honor an artist.
I invite all the Romanian politicians to act decently and not to use the great personalities in Romania who obtain great successes and victories for their small political interests ever again!
Angela Gheorghiu concluded: “It is not elegant for a politician to publicly use the talent, the success and especially the work of an international artistic personality. I really want to assure you that there are also people who care for their dignity and work, proving they have a solid spine, and who are extremely careful to their image, association and respectability of their work. I suggest to each Romanian personality to think very well in the future before accepting such a recognition”.
Angela Gheorghiu answers to Firea’s accusations: I don’t have any state debts, I didn’t ask to anyone to intervene for anything
In response, after the Municipality’s accusations, soprano Angela Gheorghiu denied, in a new Facebook post, that she asked its support in order to clear some debts to the budget, and added that ANAF must reimburse money to her. Also, the soprano mentioned that the contractual terms based on which she performed at the Constitution Square, including the fee, were negotiated by the impresarios.
“I regret that the Bucharest General Mayor chose to answer to my message with a number of inaccuracies and insinuations, even with very serious accusations, only because I have the courage to say things by the name. I announced before December 1 that I cannot participate anymore in the awarding ceremony of the title of Honorary Citizen of the Municipality of Bucharest due to personal reasons. At that time, I didn’t want to go into details, but I informed the Municipality that I cannot participate, given the social context of that event, which could have led to inappropriate interpretations. I was not informed that the decision to receive this title could be taken in the absence of consulting me. I have already shown the specific reasons that I had for not following the invitation in December. It was a moment in which all the ceremony would have been only an image exercise for a politician. The solution found, to be replaced overnight by other six personalities only in order for the show to go on, demonstrated that my fears were justified” Angela Gheorghiu said.
As for the concert held in the Constitution Square in 2017, at the invitation and based on the agreement concluded with the Bucharest Municipality, a concert for which the General Mayor claims that the artist received EUR 144,906, VAT included, Gheorghiu said: “What was important to me at that time was that the concert was going to be free of charge for the Bucharest people and for the music lovers from all over the country (since the concert was broadcast live by the Romanian Television), as well as the fact that opera music was performed on that evening, in the Constitution Square, for more than 10,000 people. This is why I accepted to sing. The financial data were negotiated by impresarios. The statements on the concert fee are out of the contractual provisions and they are totally devoid of elegance”.
She argues that she held many pro bono concerts over the time, for which she didn’t asked or received money, concerts for noble causes that deserved her support.
“I did this also because I wish and try to meet the Romanian audience whenever I have the opportunity. As a result of the humanitarian concert for the Colectiv victims, half of the money I collected are still missing, although I understood that a trial was won meanwhile” Gheorghiu claims.
Referring to Gabriela Firea’s accusation according to which she asked for her support in order to clear some debts, soprano Angela Gheorghiu mentioned: “I don’t have debts towards the Romanian state. It happened that I recently received a rectification confirming that the Romanian state, through ANAF, must reimburse to me part of the amounts that I have paid, and the authorities in question announced me that the calculation was wrong. Of course, I told about this to many people, because this abusive behavior seems outrageous to me, but I didn’t ask anyone to intervene for anything, I just complained more. I’ve paid my debts in Romania, moreover, I’m not even a tax resident here”.
“Over the time, I received distinctions everywhere in the world. Important politicians came to grant these distinctions in the cities where I performed. The simple fact that now I have to justify myself in front of some incredible accusations makes me applaud the more and more powerful choir of the Romanians who think that we cannot go on like this and things must change in Romania. We owe this, a normal country, with a rule of law and politicians who serve the citizens, to our descendants” Gheorghiu said at the end of her post.