speaks spake today (in Italian) at 530PM Milan time @ the Sala Buzzati of Milan's Corriere della Sera: watch the conference live here
Maazel is back in the civilized West (i.e. Europe) after his controversial North Korea concert with the NY Philharmonic, and, between performances of his Beethoven cycle this week in Milan at Teatro degli Arcimboldi, is talking to the Italian media.
He shared impressions from his NY-Philharmonic-Does-Asia-Tour, and told Milan newspaper Corriere della Sera, in an article printed today, that he believes Steven Spielberg made a mistake by renouncing his involvement in the Beijing Olympics. Spielberg’s mid-February snub to the Beijing Olympics made the news when he withdrew as Artistic Adviser for the opening and closing ceremonies. He slammed China for aiding the Sudanese government via weapons deals, thus perpetuating genocide in Darfur, and dropping the ball in their humanitarian obligations within the international community.
Everyone on the side of Sudan applauded Spielberg’s boycott widely, but Maazel wasn't so quick to praise the Hollywood director. Specifically, he said of Spielberg, "It was a mistake for him to renounce the Olympics, as art can open passages in the fortresses". He went on to say, "I understand his position, but I think he made a mistake. Had I been in his shoes, once China's commitment to support the UN resolution for Darfur had been secured, I'd have taken that chance. Also to once again prove wrong that part of America that is constantly hunting for an 'enemy', whether it's Iraq, North Korea, Iran, to be able to justify military budgets and arms sales profits". Better to use musical diplomacy, the interviewer asks? The answer: "They say classical music has no place in contemporary society. This proves them wrong".
Gloves off! Maazel, you'll never work in Hollywood again! Hear me?! Curtains! We don't serve your kind!
Maazel restates that he has no regrets from accepting the invitation from the North Korean government to represent the first American orchestra to play in the "kafkaesque" country, adding that, "when you have an opportunity in a fortress to open a little door and let enter a gust of fresh air, I will accept it". He had an epiphany after the performance after he saw the reaction of the North Koreans, saying, "They were completely moved, the orchestra patrons were on their feet, and their eyes were glowing. Theirs and ours. In that moment I understood: It had happened like that because they had waited for 50 years. An appointment that the entire country wanted, and like this, the poor of the country had to reduce their intake of electricity for four days to guarantee that there would be sufficient power for us." omg the ny phil prolly couldn't take n e ipods, gameboys, hairdryers, electric toothbrushes, electric razors, cameras, cell phones, laptops...that was prolly the most b00tleg trip ev4r! it's like they went camping!