Arts & Culture

“PROJECT MANAGEMENT IN THE CULTURAL SPHERE”

 

Bykova T, PhD

7th International Scientific Congress, Geneva, September 5-6, 2016

Throughout the world, the service industry and the economy of intellectual products is developing. In Russia, and in Saint-Petersburg in particular, this development is very active, that is why their role in the social production and the interest in their evolution are on the rise.

The scientific research has been stirred up by the dramatic changes in the political and socio-economic situation of the modern Russia, which reached all social strata, public establishments, state structure, government system, economy and culture.

The decentralization and the transfer of the cultural institutions to the modern management standards have brought up the issues of elaborating a new methodology and new principles for the management in the cultural sphere. The variety of cultural actors and of the existing legal forms of incorporation and types of ownership confirm that the cultural sphere is a specific and rather well-developed branch of the economic system which requires the application of multiple methods and ways of attracting companies and creative individuals into the state system of economic relations.

If we take into account the demand for the cultural activities in the region, as well as a certain number of possible culture consumers, then the need of building a new method for financing the cultural sphere becomes obvious.

The modern financial science lacks a defined methodology for managing budgetary and other costs of cultural development, and the issues of controlling the finances allocated for the cultural sphere have not yet been resolved.

In the current situation, a transfer from the purely management and distribution approach in the cultural sphere to a wider application of economic methods has become topical: we should abandon the financing system based on subsidies from the budget only in the favour of financing specific programs and projects, of competing for the budgetary funds, and of attracting larger non-budgetary funds.

Despite the considerable peculiarities of the cultural sphere originating from its non-for-profit approach and a high level of social value, the shaping of a new management and financing mechanism must take into account the transfer to a mixed-type economy. The market management model is insufficient for the realization of public interests, demands and expectations related to the cultural activities. We must find different business forms, management methods and mechanisms that would combine the elements of market and non-market governing.

It should be noted that the economics of culture is still undergoing the process of shaping as a science. In the past years, insufficient attention has been given to the problem of management, while the high level of centralization and the priority of sectoral approach have been justified.

In Saint-Petersburg, the culture is the central element in the urban structure; it assures the social stability and the harmonization of the international and interdenominational relationships, as well as encourages the development of the creative potential, the spiritual evolution of the personality and of the society in general.

Culture contributes considerably to the economic recovery of the city through creation of real jobs, attracting investment and assisting the development of new sectors, cultural tourism and creative industries.

Saint-Petersburg is a cultural centre of international importance, which has 5,830 cultural monuments. The city also possesses a well-developed network of cultural institutions: museums, theatres, libraries, and exhibition and concert halls.

It is thanks to the Hermitage Museum, the Mariinskiy Theatre, the Russian National Library, the Russian Museum, Peter-and-Paul Fortress, the Small Drama Theatre, and St. Isaac Cathedral that Saint-Petersburg is one of the top ten world tourist destinations.

The entire historical centre of Saint-Petersburg is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Thus, the culture is a strategic potential of the development of Saint-Petersburg as a European-standard multifunctional city integrated in the Russian and the world economy.  

Saint-Petersburg International Festival “All Together Opera”

The idea of the festival was born in 2012. In 2016, the Festival was held for the 5th time. It brings the masterpieces of the Russian and foreign opera classics to the wide public. The Festival’s director and main creator is Yuliya Strizhak, its musical director is Fabio Mastrangelo (Russia-Italy) and its artistic director is Victor Vysotskiy.

Russian culture, inter alia, may be proud of a grand national opera tradition that was formed in the 19th century and that rivals today international opera traditions. By now, opera has completed a specific cycle of historical development, evolving from a high-class court art through the popular stage and back to become once more an elitary genre that interests people brought up to love classical art. Opera art has always been opposed to the mass genres of popular music, which appealed to a rather shallow understanding of the world and disabled the person’s perceptibility of high culture, thus impoverishing their spiritual life.

The mission of the festival “All Together Opera” is to encourage the meeting of the wide pubic with the best creations of the human mind. This becomes possible through opera, because opera is the most popular musical art by the number of tools available to it. Opera means choirs, soloists and orchestra. Opera can impact visually. Besides, the opera genre has its own hits, which, if made available, can conquer people’s hearts. The European practice and the yet faint tendency at the main central television channels which hold opera singers competitions allow to assume that the purpose of the festival may be one day achieved.

This festival (hereinafter – the Project) involves several innovative tools:

  1. The festival “All Together Opera” holds its performances outside of the pompous theatre halls in the parks and squares of Saint-Petersburg. The most beautiful architectural ensembles of the city become the sets for the operas. The façades and the urban spaces are selected for every opera piece, and additional sets emphasize the beauty of the environment.
  2. The sets are made for one performance and are only used once.
  3. Each year, a new performance stage appears.
  4. The Festival is social oriented, that is why the entrance to all events is free.
  5. The Festival lasts for 2 weeks and holds about 4 performances of completely different opera pieces.
  6. Each performance engages young talented soloists which are not widely known to the public.
  7. Besides, foreign singers and conductors are invited in the view of a closer collaboration in the cultural sphere and the exchange of professional experience.

The Project is split into several blocks:

  1. The management and organizational block is engaged in:
  • – searching for potential sponsors for the Festival
  • – monitoring Russian and foreign cultural agendas
  • – continuous monitoring of legislative and regulatory changes
  • – monitoring and analysis of economic situation in the region
  • – maintaining the contact with Saint-Petersburg Committee for Culture
  • – looking for additional financing in the form of grants, subsidies, etc.
  • – agreeing the Festival with all the services of the city administration (Committee for the Issues of Legality, Public Order and Safety, Committee for Healthcare, Ministry of Emergencies, Committee for State Control, Use and Preservation of Historical and Cultural Monuments, State Inspectorate for Traffic Safety, and Committee for Urban Development)
  • – controlling all the other blocks of the Festival
  • – financial control and reporting at the end of the Festival
  • – artistic reporting at the end of the Festival
  1. Directing and production block is engaged in:
  • – selection of performances
  • – selection of soloists and choir signers and the orchestra
  • – rehearsals period
  • – stage setting for the performances
  1. PR-service is engaged in:
  • – continuous support of the Festival’s image
  • – issuing press- and post-releases of the Festival
  • – information support through the radio, television and Internet resources
  • – paper advertisements (printed products: posters, booklets, programs, flyers, invitations), video commercials, radio commercials
  • – online broadcasting of the performances on TV and Internet resources.
  1. Printing block is engaged in:
  • – preparing layout for printed products
  • – printing posters, booklets, programs, flyers and invitations
  1. Technical block is engaged in:
  • – preparation of the scenery
  • – making of the costumes
  • – providing musical instruments
  • – installing stage, video and sound equipment
  • – security measures
  • – providing the performance areas with WCs
  • – furnishing seats, raincoats (in case of rain), and tents

At the first stage, numerous problems arose, both financial and organizational. The organizers never expected to reunite such a large public at the performances. However, the very first performances proved that the Project was in high demand. More than 5,000 people can assist one performance. Today, the Festival even has a fan group. In the following years, some changes were introduced in the conditions for setting the performance sites.  Only wide spaces were considered, such as the Maslyany Meadow in front of Elagin Palace, the Cathedral Square of Peter-and-Paul Fortress, etc. In addition, special screens were installed for online broadcasting of the events in TV shows and at Internet resources. The Festival has also developed its proper traditions: the opening of the Festival takes place on July 12, on the feast day of prime Apostles Sts. Peter and Paul, at the Cathedral Square of Peter-and-Paul Fortress, when a classical Russian opera is performed.

The Project has been originally financed form the regional budget.

With each year, the Festival gains in popularity, and finds new sponsors.

Each performance engages more than 3,000 staff, including 120 artistic staff, the rest being technical and maintenance staff. Undoubtedly, such projects have a full-scale synergic effect for the economy of the city and the country as a whole, for they are additional events that attract tourists and city residents.

Russian and foreign experience in holding opera festivals:

– Arena di Verona, Italy. The Arena as a theatrical performance is not only an entertainment, but also a solution to the unemployment problem: thus, the transfer of the sets for “Norma” required two trucks and a week of time; fifteen people were engaged in turning the wheel in “Othello”; both people and animals made their living in “Carmen”.

The Arena is, first of all, an economic, and only then a musical event: in the summer period the open-air theatre creates profit for hotel, restaurant and bar owners, tourist agencies, airlines and bus fleets. The profits from the sale of tickets covers more than 60% of costs related to the staging of the performances, which is in fact a sort of economic miracle (for comparison, in La Scala theatre, this figure is but 21%). Without any doubt, the Verona festival has already made its place in the history of cultural tourism of the 20th century as one of the most large-scale events.

– Bayreuth festival – annual Wagner music festival held in the Festspielhaus opera theatre in Bayreuth in Bavaria (Germany). This is the world’s only opera theatre that was constructed specifically for staging Richard Wagner’s operas only.

The theatre hall holds 1,800 people. It is an amphitheatre topped by a gallery. It has nine boxes, one of which was meant for the royal family, and the other – for the highest aristocracy and VIP guests.

– The International Bach festival in Leipzig has become a well-recognized event in the world, standing out among other festivals commemorating the same composer. This has been possible not only because of the scale of the program and the quality of organization, but also thanks to the very special atmosphere of the city of Leipzig. In this city only, the concert program dedicated to the works of Bach may get a most authentic presentation. Numerous performances are held in the places connected with the name of Sebastian Bach and marked by the musical tradition.

– The objective of the International Diaghilev Festival is supporting and developing the traditions initiated by Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev, the eminent impresario and promoter of Russian culture. It is not a coincidence that Tchaikovsky Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet in Perm was at the origin of the first Diaghilev festival in Russia. It was in Perm that Sergei Diaghilev spent his childhood; the only in the world House-Museum of the internationally renowned impresario is situated in Perm. The very building of the Perm Opera Theatre was constructed thanks to a considerable financial support of the Diaghilevs family.

The uniqueness of the Perm festival consists not only in its venue, but also in its multi-genre character. The versatile creative activity of Sergei Diaghilev encompassing opera and ballet theatre, music, pictorial art and printing was taken as the structure for this festival and is represented through a series of artistic events and scientific research symposia.

– The International Music Festival in Salzburg (Austria) has operas on its program together with music concerts. Since 1877, music festivals in the name of Mozart have been held in Salzburg. In 1917, an artistic board was established (with Hoffmansthal, R. Strauss and others on the board), which prepared the festival of 1920. Since then, the festivals were held annually. They take place in the grand festival palace (2,160 seats, built in 1960).

– Moscow Easter Festival established by the initiative of maestro Valery Gergiev and the mayor of Moscow Yury Luzhkov, has almost immediately gained an important position in the cultural life of Russia. The festival, which was blessed in May 2002 by the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Aleksiy II, has evolved over years from a local festival into a national event.

In ten years, this musical festival has gained the reputation of one of the most recognized and important musical event in Russia and in Europe and has expanded to the international scale. Within the festival, the religious holiday and a ceremonial secular celebration marry happily. Besides, the charitable, educational and, later, regional aspects turned this festival into a unique all-Russian event.

– Opera Festival in Savonlinna is the oldest opera festival in Finland that has been organized annually since 1912 and held in St. Olaf’s Fortress (Olavinlinna) in Savonlinna, which was built back in 1475. The castle, which welcomes visitors throughout the year, is located on an island in the middle of the town of Savonlinna. Every summer a covered stage and an auditorium of 2,000 persons capacity are erected in the courtyard of the fortress specially for the event. A uniquely designed awning covers the main courtyard, and the fortress becomes a theatre for the days of the Opera Festival. Annually, the awning is put up anew, and the state allocated more than 300,000 euros for this. Gradually, the Savonlinna opera festival is turning into a recognized international forum. Annually, it brings together 60,000 spectators, a quarter of the number are foreigners. Typically, the festival presents 5-6 local performances and a week-long tour of the invited foreign opera theatres that alternate during one month. The operas are performed in the original languages, and subtitles in English and in Finnish are broadcasted on a display.

The opera festival in Savonlinna is the most well-known Finnish event at the international level; it is one of the trademarks of the country.

– International Opera Festival of Fyodor Ivanovich Chaliapin is the oldest festival in the former Soviet states: no other opera festival in Russia could boast a longer history. The festival was established in 1982 in Kazan, the hometown of the renowned Russian bass Fyodor Ivanovich Chaliapin. The idea of the festival belongs to the director of the Tatar Opera Theatre Rafaul Mukhametzyanov. In 1985, the festival acquired all-Russian status, in 1991, in was presented at the international stage.

The idea and the structure of the International Chaliapin Opera Festival have remained unaltered throughout its long existence. The festival has its own traditions: international stars, signers of the world’s best theatres are invited to participate in the program; latest new productions of the Theatre, as well as operas from Chaliapin’s repertoire are included in the program; new, unknown signers who have never before performed in Kazan are invited. Each festival is traditionally completed with Gala-concerts with the international opera stars.

The importance of Saint-Petersburg International Opera Festival “All Together Opera” in the cultural life of the city is doubtless. Form the economic point of view, this project is a space for action, within which various organizations are engaged in creating tangible and intangible goods that satisfy certain cultural, spiritual and leisure demands of the people, regardless of their profession. The project reunites a network of actors which exercise various types of cultural activities and realize their interests within it.

The analysis of the modern state of the cultural sphere and of the influence of the economic changes on the processes, tendencies and perspectives of development of the cultural sphere, leads to a conclusion that culture reacts intensively to the socio-economic changes. The specific elements of the cultural life find their expression at two levels: at the global level, that is, on the scale of the entire country, and at the regional level of a particular region, district or city, where they have a more pronounced character. It is at the regional level, that a system of priorities for cultural development must be formed, where cultural policy must be shaped so that it combines harmoniously the global trends with the local specific character. The expedience of such approach is justified by the following conclusions: first, regional factors are mostly defining for culture; second, at the regional level, an optimal program of cultural development is possible, based on the regional specific character and the local potential (institutional, financial, and human); third, it is at the regional level that the highest degree of engagement of various social groups in the cultural processes and in public life in general is achieved.

Based on the foregoing, we may talk about a system of cultural management, composed of two interdependent blocks: state governing through subordination relation, and horizontal management. Unlike the governing, the management has a more pronounced applied character and denotes a process that assures the integration and a more efficient use of the material and human resources of an organization with the view of reaching its goals.

The achievement of the goals within the system of the cultural sphere is, on the one hand, due to the management structure, and, on the other hand, to the goals reached at each of its levels. The key issue is the selection of methods and taking into account the specific historical conditions of the changes introduced in the economic mechanism of cultural management.

The state-level objective consists in elaboration a legislation that would define the rules and the regulations for the behavior of the management actors. An efficient state management of the cultural sphere is possible through a systematic and logically structured approach to all elements of the cultural sphere.