- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 26, 2016

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) - The management at Romania’s main opera house on Tuesday banned internationally acclaimed ballerina Alina Cojocaru and Danish ballet dancer and choreographer Johan Kobborg from entering the premises alone, following a conflict with the institution’s interim leadership.

In a letter dated April 25 that was sent to the Bucharest National Opera’s security department, Cojocaru, Kobborg and seven others can only enter if they are permanently supervised by security, according to a copy obtained by The Associated Press.

Kobborg, who began working at the opera in 2013, recently resigned citing pressure from managers. Under the previous management, a dispute erupted with some employees shouting “Out with foreigners!” claiming Kobborg was overpaid. Cojocaru is engaged to Kobborg.

The opera management couldn’t immediately be reached for a comment on the ban. Others on the list are the former interim general manager and former technical director.

Ioan Holender, the Romanian-born ex-director of the Vienna State Opera, called for the current Romanian opera house to be closed and a new institution to be created, with only the most “capable” people employed.

“The opera is not a sanatorium; it should first of all make the public happy!” he told Digi24 television station.

Deputy Prime Minister Vasile Dancu met with artists Tuesday and said he would ask the prime minister’s office which investigates wrongdoing to review the situation.

The dispute has seen three shows canceled at the opera which has 750 employees. The opera, which is heavily subsidized by the government, has become more popular in recent years with tickets selling for just 35 lei ($8.8).

Former interim manager Tiberiu Soare, a conductor, told The Associated Press the ban on Cojocaru and Kobborg entering the institution was “very serious, a symptom of this absurd situation.

“Those who made this decision showed an excess of zeal,” he added.

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