An exclusive interview with Tom Remlov, General Director of the Norwegian Opera & Ballet in Oslo
Mr. Tom Remlov, General Director of the Norwegian Opera & Ballet in Oslo.
Situated close to the sea with exotic surroundings, the Norwegian Opera and Ballet is Norway’s largest performing arts establishment and to present opera, ballet and concerts of the highest artistic quality.
DNO & B entails of the companies National Ballet and the National Opera, besides Opera Orchestra, Opera Chorus, Children’s Chorus and Ballet School. Being the only national and national establishments within their arts, DNO & B help to cultivate the creative and producing opera and ballet company in the country. The institution is organized as a corporation and is owned 100 percent by the Norwegian State.
The Chief Correspondent of International desk of The Oslo Times Paola Aparicio Cavero conducted an interview with Mr. Tom Remlov, General Director of the Norwegian Opera & Ballet in Oslo.
Below is the text of the full interview.
1. What really encourage rather inspire you to launch Opera & Ballet?
Ans: Our repertoire of ballet and opera productions is programmed by our two artistic directors, Ms Ingrid Lorentzen and Mr Per Boye Hanen respectively. They are inspired both by their deep knowledge of and commitment to their art forms and by their wish to make ballet and opera relevant to as wide an audience in Norway as possible.
2. Being Norway’s largest cultural institution, can you speak about the successful journey of The Norwegian Opera & Ballet?
Ans: There can be no doubt that present success of The Norwegian National Opera & Ballet primarily is due to our phenomenal new opera house here in Bjørvika. But long before we moved in here Norwegian ballet dancers, opera singers and musicians have made an increasingly strong impact internationally, creating the basis from which we will make our future successes.
3. How do you describe the cultural impact of The Norwegian Opera & Ballet on Norwegian citizens?
Ans: Today the perhaps most significant impact is to make opera and ballet accessible art forms, and at the same time staking a convincing claim to proper public financing of the arts in general.
4. Do you think your Opera & Ballet has successfully reached out to the immigrants living in Norway?
Ans: In some measure I think they have, in recent years. But we still have a great potential in this respect, and that triggers all of us working here.
5. What has been the best achievement of The Norwegian Opera & Ballet so far?
Ans: The fact that we have become an opera house truly for the whole nation and the whole country. I think we inspire both a real sense of ownership and a heartening sense of pride in the Norwegian people.
6. What kind of challenges you faced initially when you started Opera & Ballet and how did you dealt with them?
Ans: If you mean the opening of our new opera house, I am bound to say they were both diverse and plentiful. But the most important challenge was to get the house technically operational – that has taken a very long time and been unduly costly. As for the other challenge – would we be able to double our audience from what we had in our old venue at Youngstorget? – The answer is a resounding yes. And it is continuing.
7. What is your view on the future of the Opera & Ballet?
Ans: I think the future looks great. As for myself, I am leaving at the end of my present tenure, on 1 August this year, but my successor is taking over a very potent institution, well positioned to take on future challenges.
8. In an ear of recession, did you receive any funds from government or any private body to ensure the smooth operations of Opera & Ballet in Norway?
Ans: We are wholly owned by the Norwegian government and receive and annual subsidy of about 77% of our total turnover. More specifically we have received some extra support to deal with astronomically rising pensions costs in the wake of the recent recession.
9. How would you describe the vision of your Opera & Ballet?
Ans: It is simple, and formulated in our strategy document: “We’ll make life larger”. It sounds more precise in Norwegian, but I believe your readership will get the idea: we aim to make life richer, and that goes both for our audience and for ourselves – richer, more meaningful, more understandable, and more precious.
10. What have you done to promote your Opera & Ballet globally?
Ans: We collaborate widely with colleagues and sibling institutions from all over the world, and we frequently attract the attention of international media. Our art forms are international by their very nature, and so we have members of our respective companies from about 40 different nations, which of course give us further attention globally.
11. What message you want to give to global audience?
Ans: Please visit us whenever you can find the opportunity – you will not regret it.