In today's Corriere della Sera Lorin Maazel goes nuclear, in a huge interview (not online), on the Salzburg Festival and, in general, on "provocative" directors.
Let's read a few choice bits from what the august Milanese paper calls "Maazel's Wrath".
The Maestro is currently conducting a Beethoven cycle in beautiful Taormina and he calls that Sicilian festival "a serene oasis" where many young people attend the concerts:
"I spent a lifetime in Salzburg, my debut there was in 1963 and I conducted there 109 times in all, between operas and concerts. Now I've had enough: enough with weirdly provocative stagings of arrogant directors who think innovation means boring the audience using public funds".
"I feel like speaking up for the people who buy tickets and go to the opera and are subjected to the wrongheaded reinterpretations of great operas; that's what I told Gerard Mortier when he ran the festival"
"Often those directors are simply uneducated. Like that guy, I don't even remember his name, who was directing A Midsummer Night's Dream in Salzburg while bragging that he despised Shakespeare. They only care about scandals. But the audience do not get offended, they're simply bored. At that premiere, this big wealthy Swiss man stood up and told his wife, 'Elisabetta this is so boring! Let's go have some dinner instaed'"
"I get things done the way I want them because I have a name, and a history. Other conductors simply adapt themselves. Until one day I blew up, disgusted, nothing in Salzburg was about the music anymore, but we should always respect the great composers"
Maazel also slams La Fenice and Hamburg, "where the great texts get defaced".
And attacks Robert Carsen:
"During Traviata's preludio, he wanted to see a bunch of men approach Violetta's bed throwing a lot of money around. 'Traviata is sex and money', he told me. He reduced Verdi to trash. I had to work a lot to reach a compromise. The men left quickly and Violetta threw the money away, spitefully. I wanted to save her sensibility, La Dame Aux Camelias has a pure heart. All the opposite of the picture of depravity they wanted to force upon the opera. It was as depraved as that Otello directed by Peter Zadek in Hamburg where a naked Ophelia was hung out to dry on a rope like laundry, her ass in the air. I have nothing against nudity. At the Lido or the Moulin Rouge beautiful girls look great with their t*ts hanging out. But the only thing a lady with her vocal folds in order needs to expose is her voice. People go to the opera for that".