The First Sign Of Trouble – The False Frederiksberg Tour
Ongoing readers may recall The 2012 Leonard Cohen Frederiksberg Tour, the January 10, 2012 post exploring the ads which appeared on various sites (see above) ostensibly selling tickets to Leonard Cohen concerts – long before the announcement of the 2012 Leonard Cohen Old Ideas World Tour – scheduled for October and November 2012 in Denmark, a phenomenon explained by the following:
After some tangential Googling, I found Aarhus Teater indtager København, an excerpt from which (translated into English by Google) seems the likely source of the above story:
How to describe Morten Daugbjerg, press coordinator at Aarhus Theatre, a new collaboration between the provincial scene in Aarhus and the illustrious Aveny-T in Frederiksberg, which next year in August again opens its doors with the controversial theatrical man Jon Stephensen as theater manager.
At a press conference today at Aveny-T lifted the veil parties for cooperation which ensures the future of Aarhus Theatre, a permanent stage in the capital. The first idea that takes the tour of ‘Kattegat bridge” is Leonard Cohen concert theater, which will premiere in Aarhus 11th November this year.
Alas, “Leonard Cohen Concert Theater,” a theater production featuring Leonard Cohen’s songs covered in Danish, is not equivalent to “Leonard Cohen Performing In Concert At The Theater.” The [ticket-selling] site promotes the latter but sells the former (the result of a misunderstanding, one assumes).
That seemed a troublesome incident worth a post (to warn potential customers if for no other reason) but not one that likely to become an enduring problem.
Well, now …
The following excerpts are from Dane Has Come In The Clinch With Leonard Cohen [all quoted material in this post has been translated from Danish to English via Google Translate] by Anne Bech-Danielsen, published in the 11 June 2012 issue of Politiken:
The small Danish dance company Granhøj ended up in an intricate struggle of authorship.
Granhøj Dance has been caught in a copyright lawsuit against one of music’s greatest, namely, poet, singer and songwriter Leonard Cohen, or rather his lawyers and music publisher Sony ATV.
At worst, it risks small Aarhus dance company not only to lose earnings of 32 pre-booked performances at a theater in Leonard Cohen’s home country, Canada. It also threatens to come to hang on what the Company’s attorney describes as a preliminary unresolved, but ‘huge expense’.
A bill that falls if the case ends up with all the 32 performances by the Canadian theater bought by Danes, is canceled.
The case concerns the Leonard Cohen-inspired dance performance, “Dance Me To The End On / Off Love ‘, which has since premiered and Reumert nomination in 2010 has played on stages both at home and abroad.
The show is structured as a series of tableaux around several of Cohen’s well-known songs, so before the premiere was Palle Granhøj in dialogue with the company Koda for rights to Cohen’s music, and Koda gave license. …
“We were literally at the airport on his way to Holland and Belgium, where we had to build nine performances when we got a call from Cohen’s record label, Sony ATV, that we could not play. Since we have found ourselves in a totally exhausting nightmare. “
… the Centaur Theatre in Montreal has purchased all 32 performances of “Dance Me To The End … ‘. The idea to open the theater’s autumn season [in October], and ticket sales are opened. But now it all hangs by a thread.
“I have no idea what is happening. We have a small piece of a huge business enterprise, and it’s about lots of dollars, “said a disillusioned Pallet Granhøj.
Maybe it plays into that Leonard Cohen’s personal finances are strained, after he has been cheated by a close colleague. In each case, the theater ended up in it, even a seasoned copyright lawyer with twenty years experience call a gray area:
“It’s a jungle of dimensions,” says Peter Schønning, now hired by Granhøj Dance as a lawyer and legal guide.
The fact is that a dance performance by Palle Granhøjs ranks somewhere between a pure concert and a musical theater with action and dramatic course.
Is it a concert, it is sufficient to obtain permission from Koda – and abroad by Koda affiliates. Is it such a musical, each licensee or his music publisher is giving law.
… Since Palle Granhøj in his time turned to Danish Koda, he was told that Koda perceived ‘Dance Me To The End …’ as a kind of concert in line with the Danish theater concerts. But the Canadian sister company Socan, sees the show as theater. …
Thus, the decision in Cohen’s music publisher Sony ATV, and Leonard Cohen’s manager and attorney, Robert Kory, and they responded that it is a problem with a permit.
“The performances will coincide with the fact that Cohen himself gives a concert in Montreal, and they are afraid that the two simultaneous Cohen-thing will confuse the audience in relation to ticket sales,” explains Peter Schønning. …
… At Koda in Denmark confirms communications director Nicholas Hyltén-Cavallius that Koda has given license to Granhøjs performances on Danish soil, and have done it without the record company and artist from the perception that the show is closer to a concert than a musical performance with storyline .
Communications manager emphasizes, however, that Granhøj-dancers enter into a jungle when they travel out of the country, because the rules are interpreted differently from country to country – and from performance to performance.
Together with Palle Granhøj working lawyer Peter Schønning now on a solution where you do not cancel, but postpone the performances in Montreal for spring 2013, a good distance from Leonard Cohen’s concert.
“If the problem is the coincidence of concerto, the solution should indeed be no problem”, says Schønning.
Update 13 June 2012: The article quoted below was originally available only in Danish; the material posted was a product of Google Translate. I have replaced it with a much better translation of this piece that is now available from Politiken’s News In English edition.
And the June 12, 2012 edition of Politiken carried a followup, Minister: Leonard Cohen Unreasonable:
Denmark’s Culture Minister enters the fray with Leonard Cohen
Denmark’s culture minister has written to the singer Leonard Cohen, urging him to change his mind about denying a Danish dance company the right to use some of his songs – a central part of the company’s performance, according to TV2News.
Elbæk has decided to react because he believes that Cohen and his managers have been unreasonable in denying the Granhøj Dance Company from Aarhus the rights to use his music on a world tour.
“I have written to him that I sincerely hope that the problem will be solved. I am sure hat Granhøj will not do anything illegal,” Elbæk tells TV2News.
The Danish embassy in Canada has also been involved in the case.
Granhøj is currently on tour abroad with its “Dance Me To The End On/Off Love” performance in which the company uses some of Cohen’s well-known songs. Cohen and his Sony ATV company have declined permission to use the songs as Cohen himself is on tour with the same songs.
The dispute has meant that one performance has already had to be cancelled in Poland, and with other performances in Russia and Germany in the balance. The issue will particularly hit hard in Canada, where the company has been booked for a total of 32 performances.
Clearly, the issue is still being contended. We’ll stay alert for news on this front.
A video ad for the Danish production follows.