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Just in: Gerard Mortier is fired by Madrid

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.


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  1. If true, this is shocking. Whatever one thinks of some of Mortiers artistic decisions he has been a visionary leader in Brussels, Salzburg, Paris and Madrid and deserves to be treated with respect. In every case his artistic ‘footprint’ has remained and influenced operatic life throughout the musical world. We wish him a speedy recovery and, if this news is true, a very large payout from the powers that be in Spain.

  2. The bad guy here is Gregorio Marañón, Presidente del Patronato of the Teatro Real. The Teatro Real didn’t fire Mortier, Marañón did. Marañón has a history of questionable behavior with the press, with his employees and now with the very manager he brought in. The Madrid blogger
    Beckmesser has been reporting on his indiscretions for some time now.

    Marañón also jerked around Pedro Halffter, another candidate for Mortier’s position, misleading him about the position, according to a just-published interview with Halffter.

    This was handled horribly. No matter what you think of Mortier, this was inhuman and unprofessional. Someone should finally bring Gregorio Marañón’s name into the spotlight for his poor judgement and evil deeds.

    • Cher Monsieur Mortier,
      Je ne vous oublierai jamais, vous avez été le plus grand Directeur
      de la Monnaie, vous avez restauré le théatre, c’était magnifique,
      nous avons pu admirer les plus belles mises en scènes, les plus beaux
      décors, les plus grands chanteurs, votre période à la Monnaie fut
      magique, actuellement?????,,,,il y a des trous dans les fauteuils de
      la plus belle salle d’opéras de Belgique, c’est lamentable, et la
      qualité, oui, l’orchestre, certains opéras sont très bien, par
      contre genre Traviata????un peu dommage, je ne trouve pas très
      élégant de la part de l’Opéra de Madrid d’agir de cette façon face
      à la maladie, mais je sais combien vous avez d’énergie et de force,
      vous allez combattre ce cancer, je suis passée par là, ne pas
      décrocher, travailler, vivre et ignorer cette “sale bête”et le
      moral, c’est le plus important.
      Enfin, j’espère que vous me lirez et avec toute ma sympathie
      Christiane Flamand-Demanet

  3. The story posted on NY Times implied Mortier resigned. I opined posting the article on Facebook, perhaps Monsieur Mortier just couldn’t get used to the Spanish political system or culture. $64000?did Mortier resign, did he jump before he was pushed or was he fired. I will say, if he has cancer, his treatment & recovery are a full time job. I wish him well.

  4. To PK Miller – Spanish media has reported clearly that he was fired. Furthermore, Mr. Mortier was not told personally, he was informed via the press. Gregorio Maranon of the Real, responsible for the firing, has claimed in interviews that he” tried to call” Mortier 15 minutes before the press conference announcing Matabosch’s immediate appointment to tell him but he couldn’t get through. So Mortier, like you and I, read the news in the press.

  5. This is a tangent, but I am confused by the artificial distinction between an “editorial comment” such as the one you wrote today, and all the other content on this blog. EVERYTHING here is written in an editorial tone.

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