The activities of theatrical and music institutions are primarily governed by the Performing Arts Institutions Act and National Opera Act.
This Act regulates the activity of performing arts institutions, which operate as a foundation founded by the state or with the participation of the state or as a local government institution. The Act regulates the activities of the performing arts institutions operating as legal persons in private law only insofar as it is specified in the Act. The Ministry of Culture has initiated the updating of the Performing Arts Institutions Act.
The Performing Art Institutions Act provides the definition of a performing arts institution, the bases for the organisation of activities, the financing of performing arts institutions and the reporting by performing arts institutions. According to the Act, a performing arts institution is an institution:
- which organises regularly public presentations of the creative work of authors and performers in the form of performances and concerts;
- which is in employment relations with persons engaged in creative activities;
- which has an artistic director and an artistic council;
- which informs the public of performances or concerts.
The National Opera Act provides the objective, functions and legal status of the Estonian National Opera (Rahvusooper Estonia) as well as the organisation of management and activities. The objective of the National Opera is to advance Estonian national theatrical and musical culture, promote and introduce it in Estonia and abroad and to make the world’s achievements of musical and theatrical culture accessible in Estonia. According to the Act, the functions of the national opera are:
- regular organisation of public presentations of works created in the genre of opera, ballet, operetta and music in the form of performances and concerts;
- ensuring the high artistic level of performances and concerts;
- purposeful promotion of the repertoire of the Estonian original musical theatre, ordering new works from authors and the use thereof;
- introduction of valuable works of world’s musical and theatrical culture and introduction of high-level guest performers in the form of performances and concerts;
- introduction of its performances, singers, dancers and musicians abroad;
- ensuring the application of singers, dancers and musicians trained in Estonia and enabling the in-service training thereof;
- creation of conditions for the creative development of the artistic personnel of the national opera;
- organisation of the recording of its performances and concerts;
- participation in the international co-operation of musical theatres.
The National Opera is a legal person in public law operating on the basis of this Act, other legislation and its articles of association. The provisions of the Performing Arts Institutions Act apply to the National Opera in the cases provided for in this Act.
The purpose of the Creative Persons and Artistic Associations Act is to support cultural creativity, the preservation and development of fine arts at a professional level and to improve conditions necessary for the creative activity of creative persons through artistic associations and to create guarantees therefor. For the purposes of the Act, a creative person is an author or a performer within the meaning of the Copyright Act, who acts in one of the following fields as a freelancer: architecture, audiovisual arts, design, performing arts, sound arts, literature, visual arts or scenography. An artistic association is a non-profit association that is recognised pursuant to the procedure provided for in this Act, the purpose of which is to promote one artistic field and support the creative activities of creative persons who are members of the artistic association.
See also chapters 1.2.5, 4.1.3 and 3.3.