It’s getting down to the wire now. According to a short article in the local paper, hearings will begin this week for the 12… let’s call them “semi-finalists”, for the position of Intendant (Artistic Director) of the Tiroler Landestheater und Orchester GmbH. The 12 had been winnowed out of a group of over 70 interested individuals who had sent in their materials earlier this year. It has been officially stated that the 12 candidates come from Germany (9), Austria (2) and Switzerland (1), but that is all we’ve been told. The whole process is being conducted by a select committee of theater-management experts (including Intendant Bernd Loebe of the Frankfurt Opera House, and Eva Wagner-Pasquier, who runs Bayreuth.) We peons not only have nothing to do with the selection, we don’t even hear about the process as it is going on. Oh sure, there are rumors slipping out — certainly we know some of these candidates already — and we artists love to dream up all sorts of outcomes, but officially, we have heard nothing.
The next step will be that the committee, after these hearings are over, will recommend 3 of the candidates (lets call them the “finalists”) to the local governmental cultural authorities from the city of Innsbruck and the state of Tirol, and from these 3 they will pick the winner. My guess is that, once the choice is narrowed down and the government is presented with these three names, the process will go fairly quickly.
It is a strange feeling to watch and wait, knowing we have no say in a matter what will affect our futures pretty quickly — kind of like your single mom bringing home your new stepfather, who might either like you, just tolerate you, or kick you out of the house. New Intendants have been known to keep on some of the Old Guard as they make the transition to their own flock of artists, but they are more infamous for the “bloodbaths”, letting masses of people go and bringing in their own immediately.
The advantage to the European system is that, if a performer is let go (contract not renewed, rather than fired, which is something else), s/he has to be told early, so that s/he can look for new work while still on the current contract, in our case that would be about 8 months.
But for now, we continue to watch and wait.
ADDENDUM: Sorry, some info that I had put in got edited out of my final draft, and I should add it back in: the part where we get told our contracts will/will not be renewed will most likely happen in autumn, after a few months of transition and while the current Intendantin is still running things. So I am not in any danger of getting the ax just now. Thanks for your positive thoughts!