Contralto Calls Out Festival For Poor Working Wages, Festival Responds

By David Salazar

The press is not good for the International Festival of Baroque and Romantic Music at Beaune as contralto Sacha Hatala has gone public about poor working conditions with the organization.

Her main complaint was that she was forced to work long hours, specifically three days of rehearsal and a four-hour performance as Pelopida in Alessandro Scarlatti’s “Il Mitridate” for a sum of €256.46.

She noted in an open letter that she sang “almost for free” and that she preferred to fast for four days than to have nothing to provide for her three boys and husband. She went on to question the legality of the contract and noted that she needed to speak out because it was precisely the fear of speaking out that “killed our profession.” She concluded by asking all singers to speak up.

The Festival responded by noting that they would never pay such a low rate, noting that they offered Hatala €800 to sing a small role and had never been attacked in such fashion. In its response, it pointed to its 35-year trajectory as evidence of its integrity.