A Strike for All in Bologna!

     Last night at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna the Teatre opened free to the public for a protest concert. This is a markedly different approach to the union strikes and walkouts that have plagued Italy in the past week. The protest is aimed at a recent decree that puts new stipulations on hiring practices, operating procedures, and many other issues for the newly transformed "Lyrical Symphonic Foundations." Most of the outrage has been directed at Italy's Minister of Culture Sandro Bondi who read and approved the decree for legislation. However, due to recent conflicts between the unions and the theater's superintendent Marco Tutino was also under attack during the protest with banners bearing such slogans as "Tutino out of Bologna," "Tutino go" and "Tutino and Bondi out of Italian culture."

     The evening began with chamber brass pieces being played from the outside terrace overlooking Piazza Verdi. The public gathered en masse and represented a great cross section of the Bolognese population.
     Once the doors opened the public was welcomed into the foyer which quickly overflowed with observers wanting to see the protest. Before the hall opened Bach chorale pieces and several chamber wind and brass pieces were performed for the public's pleasure. During the performance representatives mingled with the crowd and pinned yellow ribbons to people's lapels to represent that they were"carriers of culture." At the end of this foyer-concert a banner was unrolled to great applause that read, "Italy, the home of art and music has been condemned by Bondi's decree."
     The public was then invited into the hall where they nearly filled the auditorium. There the orchestra and chorus were waiting in there street clothes, a sight rarely seen at the opera. Before the concert began two young representatives spoke to the public about the situation. One representative, an orchestra student received great applause when he stated, "we study music for ten years but this is a country that does not recognize us. The complaint must be from everyone, students, musicians and the public--we will do it together."
     The concert featured selections of Bizet's Carmen conducted by Maestro Mariotti with members of the chorus singing the lead roles. The public was enamored with the performances and at the end of the evening gave a tremendous standing ovation. The success of this demonstration should be noted as an wonderful alternative to the recent performance strikes. The best aspect of this performance is that it involved the public and informed them of the unions' positions rather than alienating the public and creating further animosities with cancelled performances.


  1. Wow! That's amazing. What a great approach, like you said, to protesting.

  2. Ok it's nice. But in a country that historically only made change when pressure was put on its government, I wonder how efficient it is. (same applies for France)