The Paris Opera
The Management and Governance
of a Major Cultural Institution

A book written by Philippe Agid &
Jean-Claude Tarondeau


The Gall Era

Managing the Paris Opera in 1995. Under what conditions?

Hugues Gall knew, from 1993, under what conditions he would accept to be director of the Paris Opera. He secured:

  • Changes in the statutes in 1994: All management responsabilities for the Opera is given to one single director for a renewable period of six years.
  • Adoption of multi annual key figures. The director and the State engage in an implied quantified six year contract which appears in the Gall report in 1993, and was agreed with Jacques Toubon, Minister of culture at the time.

This contract ties the parties down to the number of dance and lyrical performances that must be given each year in each of the two theatres, including repertory and new productions performances. It defines key budget figures for the Opera, up to 2001, as well as the financial resources that must be generated by the Opera itself (ticket sales, sponsorship) and public subsidies.

  • Suppression of control a priori.
  • Clarification of relationship between the State and the Opera, to improve confidence.

An improved confidence would result from:
- the creation and role of an “ad hoc” finance committee.
- the implementation of a competitive purchasing process within the Opera, in the spirit of the Code des marchés publics.
- the existence of the multi annual key figures, to which everyone could refer, comparable to a company's multi-year budget..
- the quality of staff relations between Opera managers and the heads of the Culture and Finance ministries, and the non interference of the state administration in the Opera managememt.

Photograph of the Centre of stage operations at the Bastille Opera House
Centre of stage operations at the Bastille Opera House