I was thinking how to explain my daughter what “direct” is and that there couldn’t be a better solution than “Radetzky March” for the end of the Vienne New Year Concert … and going from here to the memory of another cool Romanian.
For many of us, this concert, annually transmitted by the Romanian national television, is the only contact with Vienne State Opera. For Ioan Holender, the manager of Vienne State Opera for almost 20 years, it is much more, it’s his life.
Ioan Holender was born in Timisoara, Romania, in 1935. His father owned a factory in Timişoara, which was expropriated in the communist period. He studied mechanical engineering, he also worked as a tennis coach and then he emigrated with his family to Austria. There, he followed music studies and was baritone for some years. In 1966 he started working at the Starka theatrical agency and began to have success.
In 1992 he became the manager of Vienne State Opera, the largest audience Opera in the world. With Ioan Holender as manager, the number of shows and receipts achieved new records, over 50 operas and ballet works on around 300 days per season. And that is why the mandate of Ioan Holender as manager was another record, the longest in the history.
At the age of 75 years, Ioan Holender withdraw from this position. The show dedicated to this moment was a real tribute: a marathon of six hours, more than 40 interpreters, 12 conductors, all the funds being donated for the street’s children in Moldavia Republic.
What is Ioan Holender now? … artistic adviser for Tokyo Opera, Budapest Opera, New York Metropolitan Opera, …, the president and artistic manager of “George Enescu” Romanian Festival, the honorary ambassador of Timisoara, the town that he had never forgotten and always promoted.