In the next breath after announcing Joan Matabosch as the next director of the Teatro Real, the Spanish authorities fired Gerard Mortier, who has three years left on his contract. Mortier was informed of the decision by the press.
Given that he is undergoing cancer treatment, the handling of his dismissal has been indelicate, to say the least. Mortier, in a first reaction, maintains that he will continue in the job. The official response is confused.
No reason has been given for his dismissal, but officials are understood to be upset by an interview he gave last week to El Pais in which he advised the authorities on who to appoint as his successor.
They have succeeded in making the often-contentious opera director an object of public sympathy. They have also given him a very strong legal case for aggravated damages. He will not go quietly, or cheaply. UPDATE: Editorial comment here.