Lithuanian Government Fires Opera Director Over Corruption

By David Salazar

There is some trouble over in Lithuania as Gintautas Kevisas, the director of the national opera and ballet, was fired from his position by the government on Monday night. Compounding the situation is the fact that Kevisas held the position for 15 years.

According to reports, Kevisas faced accusations of making contracts on behalf of the national opera with his own private companies, including one with Angela Gheorghiu, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

The government set out to investigate the director and the decision was ultimately made by Culture Minister Liana Ruoktye-Jonsson, who made the decision on a recommendation from the investigation commission.

The dismissal took effect immediately.

Metropolitan Opera general manager Peter Gelb previously penned a letter to Ruoktye-Jonsson expressing support for Kevisas, but that seems to have not had any impact on the decision to get rid of him.

Kevisas took up the position in 2002 after years as the general director of the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Society between 1988 to 2000, and Minister of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania from November 2000 to July 2001. He worked in a number of other management capacities and was also instrumental in organizing over 80 collaborations between the late Sir Yehudi Menuhin and a number of other musical organizations.