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Female Singers Report Harassment at the National Opera

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More than ten women interviewed for digital publication, Long Play, have described dozens of instances of harassment, a significant number taking place at the Finnish National Opera.

Examples of the harassment reported include groping, sending text messages with sexual content and commenting on body parts.

Yle contacted Gita Kadambi, the general director of the National Opera and Ballet, who admitted there had been several incidents at the opera house involving inappropriate behaviour and harassment over the past few years.

According to Kadambi, the same few people are responsible for the harassment.

“The instances are monitored and responded to appropriately. A warning is issued and if the behaviour continues, the person is fired.”

The Finnish National Opera and Ballet director Gita Kadambi
Image: Jari Kovalainen / Yle

Inappropriate behavior even during performances

Some of the women interviewed by Long Play say that they don’t necessarily know who to contact when harassed.

“The National Opera does not have an actual harassment contact person,” Kadambi says. “However, people can to turn to, for example, a close supervisor, workplace safety manager or occupational health officer.”

Intimate scenes on stage are not given proper direction which has resulted in surprising and inappropriate touching during performances.

The National Opera has already experimented with choreographers for intimate scenes in performances. In the coming season, intimacy choreography training will be organized for the staff, says Kadambi.

“Each case is too many”

“I don’t know if we have more of them (instances of harassment and inappropriate behaviour) than elsewhere, but each case is too many,” says Kadami. “About 1,500 people work in our organisation each year, and unfortunately not everyone behaves impeccably.”

Currently, the opera house is trying to reduce harassment through training, regulations and other support measures.

“However, the most important thing is for people to speak up and step in when it comes to harassment,” says Kadambi.

Source: Yle

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