|Vienna choristers cry out for cash
The sailor-suited Vienna Boys' Choir, which toured Hong Kong last year, is facing serious financial problems, its director warned in a newspaper interview today.
“The Vienna Boys' Choir is a well-run institution but financial resources are very scarce,'' Walter Nettig told the Die Presse daily.
The “Wiener Saengerknaben'' and an attached school, with roots going back to the 13th century, is classified as a non-profit, AFP reports.
It relies on income from concerts, tours and CDs and on private donations. Only the teachers' wages are paid by Austria. But it has also been housed since 1948 – rent-free – in an 18th-century palace.
Earlier this month, the Austrian national audit office recommended that the government start charging the choir 17,200 euros per month for use of the building.
Nettig said the choir could not afford that.
“If in future we have to pay 200,000 euros in rent every year, we can't manage,'' he told Die Presse.
“I am not someone to cry wolf ... The situation could become dangerous,'' he said.
And with the 100 choristers, divided into four choirs, performing between them some 300 concerts a year and going on lengthy tours, Nettig said that squeezing more out of the 10 to 14-year-olds was out of the question.
“What more can we get out of the children? They have to practise for hours, go to school etcetera. As long as I am in charge there will definitely be no additional performances,'' he said.