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March 6, 2021

Artists call for state protection

After the death of soprano Roxana Briban (aged 39), who committed suicide after being dismissed from the Bucharest National Opera one year ago, her colleagues call on the authorities to take measures to improve Romanian artists’ living standards. The head of the Romanian Performing Artists’ Guild (FAIR), Leonard Paduret, stated, for Mediafax.ro, that FAIR and the Bucharest National Opera’s Trade Union would call on the authorities to regulate the status of artists at the Bucharest National Opera (ONB), as well as of other artists employed by theatres and concert halls, in the sense that the latter should be entitled to undetermined term labour contracts and should be protected by the Labour Code. “There are numberless instances in which such exceptions lead to tragedies,” Paduret argued.

We remind our readers that, according to the soprano’s husband, Roxana Briban suffered a shock after being dismissed from ONB, in June 2009. She would have been willing to perform at the Bucharest Opera even without being paid a wage, but the manager of the institution refused to have her back. “In June 2009, the manager of the Bucharest National Opera, Catalin Ionescu Arbore, asked her to renounce her contracts in Vienna to have her back at ONB. She would not renounce, and, as a consequence, her contract was not prolonged,” Alexandru Briban explained. He added that the collaboration contracts that the soprano had signed with the Vienna Opera were terminated once Ioan Holender was no longer at the helm of the institution.

On the other hand, Ionescu Arbore claimed that, in fact, the soprano had resigned from ONB, where she had been employed since 2000. He added that Roxana Briban had a lot of contracts abroad and could no longer keep up with her duties at ONB, for which reason she had called for the termination of her contract as early as 2008. “We were under constant fear that she may leave any given moment,” Catalin Ionescu Arbore stated. “Any Opera House manager in the world would have been a fool to let her go,” he added. Ionescu Arbore further stated that Roxana Briban had “a sensitive nature and a lovely voice”, but was “very withdrawn”.

The soprano Roxana Briban’s body was laid, on Monday, in the Herastrau chapel, and the artist will be buried, today, in the Herastrau cemetery.

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