Scan Magazine, Issue 135, April-May 2020

Page 61

Scan Magazine  |  Business  |  Column/Calendar

The business of opera Opera can be a spellbinding experience – as can opera broadcasts to cinemas, with their luscious, wrap-around sound, dramatic close-ups, and total ban on popcorn. By Steve Flinders One downside to broadcasts from The New York Met, however, is the Bloomberg sponsorship ad. It’s very clever: two parallel sequences from the worlds of opera and of international business, accompanied by rousing orchestral music. We see the singer in her dressing room, then the executive in his hotel room adjusting his tie. The singer walks up the tunnel to the stage; the exec’s tunnel leads to his flight. Next, a key moment on stage as the singer belts out an aria; switch to an exchange of tense looks in the negotiation in the top floor suite. Then the applause and bouquets on stage, and the handshakes on the deal in the boardroom. Opera and business – both worlds of high drama. Except that I can never stop wondering what the execs are negotiating: an Arctic oil-

field? A supply chain involving semi-slave labour somewhere in Asia? Software to spy on our online searches? Increasingly, I distrust big parts of a global business culture intent on the enrichment of a relative few to the detriment of the many and of the planet. Yet putting on opera is an expensive business, especially in the extravagant style favoured by The Met, and much of the cost is borne by business. Perhaps I should be boycotting these productions rather than lapping them up. Moreover, many argue that opera is so elitist as not to warrant any kind of  public subsidy. The power of opera is too important to sacrifice so tritely. It can and should be brought to a wider public, and arts organisations can seek more ethical sources of sponsorship,

as the Greenpeace campaign against BP is trying to demonstrate. So I’ll go on watching opera, but also press for opera companies to stop taking dirty money. And maybe  Bloomberg could change its ad.

Steve Flinders is a freelance trainer, writer and coach, based in Malta, who helps people develop their communication and leadership skills for working internationally:

Business Calendar

By Jo Iivonen

Scandinavian business events you do not want to miss this month DevOps 2020 Although public events in Finland, like elsewhere, have been put on hold due to government regulations over the Covid-19 crisis, this three-day Helsinki tech conference is going ahead – just as an online-only event. The organiser’s decision to convert the event into a virtual format at short notice highlights the innovation that also underpins this year’s theme: matters of cloud, data and security within the software industry are the focal point of DevOps 2020. Date: 21-23 April

Nordic Media Days 2020 The Nordic region’s largest media conference is scheduled to take place on the heels of the worldwide health crisis that has highlighted the need for open communication and impartial reporting – all founding principles of any publication, but how well are the guidelines being adhered to and what can be learnt from

the past few months? The events of recent months will no doubt feature high on the agenda – including the role of the media in times of global uncertainty. Date: 6-8 May Venue: Grieghallen, Edvard Griegs plass 1, 5015 Bergen, Norway.

Nordic Game 2020 As the region’s leading event dedicated to the Nordic gaming sector, this annual conference gathers together developers from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. This year, the conference will be held in two parts: in addition to the raft of speakers lined up to explore business, emotion and knowledge at the May edition, a follow-up is scheduled for 25-27 November. Date: 27-29 May Venue: Slaghuset, Carlsgatan 12E, 211 20 Malmö, Sweden.

BNCC Summer BBQ By late June, Nordic natives tend to flock en masse to the summer cottages scattered around the lakes, forests and seaside up north. This informal event, organised by the British-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce, offers a taster of Nordic Midsummer  celebrations in the middle of London. In addition to barbeque treats and a prize raffle, expect plenty of networking opportunities  with the capital’s Norwegian business community. Date: 23 June Venue: St. Olav’s Square, 12 Albion St, Rotherhithe, SE16 7LN London, UK.

Issue 135  |  April/May 2020  |  61

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