24 Apr 2012

Ignacio Garcia-Belenguer Appointed

Ignacio Garcia-Belenguer, 45, has been named as the new general manager of Madrid’s opera, Teatro Real.

This change was announced after an April 19 joint meeting of the Advisory Council and the theater’s Board of Directors. Contracted for five years, he replaces Miguel Muñiz who was general manager of the acclaimed house for the past eight years.

Garcia-Belenguer, a Zaragoza native, was appointed administrative manager in February and now will lead the house. Muñiz tendered his resignation last December and will continue on the Advisory Council at the “Royal Theater.” Muñiz is credited with stabilizing the company and creating new audiences. His 2008 invitation to the innovative Gerard Mortier to be artistic director for five years, starting in 2010, guaranteed a higher international visibility.

Spain’s opera houses have been dealing with a substantial reduction in government subsidies and are busy developing private support. Strikes have been threatened in the past weeks at the Teatro Real and have have created difficult times. Threatened with protests is Placido Domingo’s appearance in the Parisian Châtelet production of Alfano’s opera “Cyrano de Bergerac” scheduled for next month. The immediate cause of the threatened work stoppage is a letter to employees of the house demanding a refund of money paid due to an administrative error.

The budget for this season has been reduced by 1.5 million Euros but dramatic economies and projected increased private donations has allowed the Board of Directors to project a balanced budget for the present year.

Frank Cadenhead