Ott Maaten appointed new National Opera director

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Ott Maaten has been announced new director of the Estonian National Opera (Rahvusooper).

National Opera Board Chair Ivari Ija said that Maaten, 53, has both business and musical expertise for the role, and has also successfully managed several complex construction and reconstruction projects.

The National Opera is housed at the Estonia Theater in central Tallinn, which comprises a theater stage and a concert hall, and is also home to the national ballet, but a move has been talked about off and on for the past decade.

Ivari Ilja said, via a National Opera press release Friday, that: "In a situation where our over 100-year-old National Opera still operates inside a theater and a hall which has unsuitable acoustics and stage for musical performances, while simultaneously a debate has begun on whether to include the opera house on the list of cultural buildings of national importance, it is vital that the National Opera gets a director general who is also able to oversee construction processes. I wish the new director success and strength."

Ilja also noted Maaten's work experience as a professional musician, followed by stints as financial and administrative director at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theater (EMTA) in Tallinn, and in the private sector, as advantages.

Maaten replaces Aivar Mäe, who resigned in late August following allegations which appeared in the media two months earlier that he had engaged in sexual harassment of staff over an extended period of time. A court hearing into the charges is ongoing.

Earlier talks on possibly relocating the National Opera to the Linnahall have since foundered, following the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic, which has put development of the complex on ice. A more recent possible location floated was on the Kopli peninsula in North Tallinn.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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