Finnish minister: government to cut funding for National Opera

Finland’s culture and sport minister has said that funding is to be cut for the country’s National Opera and National Theatre.

Paavo Arhinmäki told reporters from the YLE news agency at the weekend that a large portion of the organisation’s funding revenue would be shifted to local art museums.

Currently, the Finnish National Opera and National Theatre receives money from national lottery operator Veikkaus. However, this source will change hands in the near future, officials said.

Speaking about the change, Mr Arhinmäki said, “It is clear we need to re-asses the funding of the National Opera and National Theatre, just as we need to do with all others.” He added, however, that the hope was that it would not lead to any job losses and that promotional efforts could help the opera gain new interest and introduce new revenue.

However, National Opera director Päivi Kärkkäinen said that cutting funds without axing jobs was unrealistic and that the move will be highly damaging to the arts scene in Finland.

Meanwhile, funding is to increase for children’s sports organisations. Arhinmäki, who has long been an advocate of sports, said that physical activities have largely become overly expensive and the effort would help to make them more affordable for parents and communities.