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Audience stunned as Berlin concert becomes a political protest

July 2, 2017 by norman lebrecht

55 comments.


Here are two accounts of what happened at the Komische Oper on Friday night. The first is by the soloist, Gabriela Montero. The second is by an audience member, the German-based pianist Igor Levit.

Gabriela first:

 

There are many ways to break the silence that has enveloped the Venezuelan tragedy for so many years. What happened at the Komische Oper on Friday, just as Mirga, the orchestra and I were about to begin Tchaikovsky’s Concerto No.1, was as shocking and desperate, as it was deeply moving.

To our surprise, a Venezuelan man and woman sitting in the front row, far left, rose to their feet and began to sing the Venezuelan National Anthem. Everyone was taken aback. I turned my body towards them, to listen, observe and admire the courage it took for these two people to break the silence, the sacred aura of this temple of classical music.

Who does that? How dare they?

I’ll tell you who and why.

Two people who have lost and suffered so much, who have had so much stolen from them and their families, that they knew that bringing Venezuela to that audience in that moment, and therefore, rupturing the silence and attention that is devoted seconds before the first notes of the music that represents the best of humanity, was as relevant a moment as there ever was to wake the world up of its complacency towards devastation.

After a few minutes of the audience listening attentively, which I must say I do appreciate given that most of them did not understand this act of protest and call for help, Mirga began the concerto. I quickly turned to the piano, and began playing the most heart breaking and powerful rendition of this concerto I have ever given.

After the applause, as I usually do, I took the microphone to do my encore. I wore the new necklace I just had made with the colors of the Venezuelan flag, hung it around my neck, and sat down to explain to the audience what had just happened.

I began by saying,” I want to explain to you what just happened. This couple, whom I have never met, courageously sang our National Anthem, to remind the world that beyond these walls, of this safe concert hall, there are a great many people who are suffering. Our country, Venezuela, is suffering and living its most horrific history”.

At that point, a man yelled from the balcony in German, something to the effects of, ” This is not the place for those political things”.

Of course, I immediately backfired and firmly and loudly replied, ” MUSIC IS ABOUT HUMANITY, OTHERWISE, IT MEANS NOTHING”.

The public supported me with great applause, telling us they understood our message.

Two improvisations followed, and then a touching Lithuanian piece for strings that Mirga had asked me to improvise on.

Below is a photo of my necklace, as my personal way of bringing Venezuela with me to every concert platform, and as my way of telling the Venezuelan people I am always with them.

GM

Now (lightly adapted from social-media English) Igor Levit:

Open thoughts about last night.

How many times have we heard all Tchaikovsky’s first Piano Concerto? How often we talk about how “great” the play is on the one hand, how much it is played ” up and down ” etc….

Last night, a very special concert took place at the Komische Oper. Gabriela Montero Mcelroy has just performed this piano concerto with Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla and the orchestra of the Komische Oper. When they were on stage and the conductor wanted to start, two young people suddenly jumped up in the first row and sang the national anthem of Venezuela. First goosebumps moment. The power … can hardly be reflected in words. What warmth, but the energy from Gabriela, who was visibly moved and overwhelmed (no one expected it to be sung, not even the two in the first row, who had met only a few minutes earlier in the foyer)…

What followed was the (most) touching b-minor concerto I could ever hear. Gabriela Montero didn’t interpret it, she told about herself, told us, took us with her, read us … witness. When a concert moves so much more than “interpretation”. the assessment criteria are shifting. It does not matter whether something loud or quiet, fast or slow, hard or soft, appropriate or inappropriate, together or not together. No, there’s something inexpressible and indescribable on these evenings. It creates life among all those involved. There was an artist on the stage, for which the music occupies an incredibly vital importance. She has no distance. She’s exposing herself. Their fight for their country, for their people, their suffering, their hope, which they live, and for which they stand, day by day, hour to hour, all that has been brought alive. She reminded us of every tone that was so intuitive, so breathing out of the wing, that we all suffer, hope, feel, and just to live. We all became music. Music was no longer decoration, she was present. I have the pages of the first sentence so painful, so proud, so moving never heard.

There are now people who believe that political speeches do not belong in a concert. Many artists also think that. It is not a question of speeches. It’s about awareness, about consciousness. Conscious of the fact that no artist, no person, should be hiding out in front of the world. So that every person, regardless of job and task, positioning, fighting, helping – must be human. Gabriela Montero is such a person. She gave all of us not only a wonderful Tchaikovsky concerto yesterday, no, she gave her music a moment that brought us closer to ourselves. I’m still overwhelmed and touched. And grateful.

 

 


Comments (55)

  1. Kelvin Grout says:

    Reminds me of a recital I gave in St Johns Smith Square with music from Chile. In the middle of the first half a number of protesters stood and shouted their opinions about the then brutal Chilean regime. This lasted ten minutes and they quietly left. Do such protests belong in the concert hall? Probably not, but I’ve never been a victim of such evil, although the current Brexit disaster surely warrants more action from artists. The great Gerald Moore once said to me, ‘Kelvin, you are a pianist, don’t get involved in anything else, being a fine musician is enough!’ Surely the music is what shows us the way back to sanity, that’s our way forward.

  2. Anon says:

    I think you can not be an artist without being involved politically and also be so – sensibly – on the podium. Anybody who keeps this separated to me is only an entertainer prostitute, not an artist.
    Money is not everything. In fact, at the end of all things, it is nothing.

    Having said that, the Venezuelan conflict for all I know is far from being a simple ‘good guys vs bad guys’ tale, as Mrs. Montero sometimes tends to portray it.

    1. Anonymous says:

      The conflict in Venezuela is about bad guys and good guys the people, people eating from trash cans on the streets, eating doves they can catch or waiting for the season of mangoes to eat 2 times per day! That is a fight between the bad guys (that eat 3 times every day) and good guys that can’t . People dying becaus is not medicine either in pharmacies or hospitals, is a fight between good and evil. I can go on and on giving you examples of what really is the fight between good and very bad guys in Venezuela.

  3. Kai Adomeit says:

    Musicians do what they do in public – we should fight for humanity, freedom and the rights of man wherever we are till our last breath! Living in the Comfort Zone is easy….

  4. Sam McElroy says:

    Some day my wife may write a book of these years, of this Venezuelan chapter.

    It would chronicle the daily sifting of social media inboxes filled with the desperate, unsolicited cries of men and women, boys and girls she has never met, reaching out blindly to one of the few musical voices that has dared to boldly and unequivocally represent the truth for them abroad, hopeful that she will find immediate solutions to their daily privations. It will recall time away from music, searching for ways to send food and medicine packages through complex networks of secure delivery companies to people dying of cancer, of HIV, of preventable illnesses, of unspeakable violence, of every putrid cause imaginable and unimaginable in a country that has been reduced to a rotting hell of misery and deprivation by those who sequestered music itself to have YOU, the international audience, believe otherwise – that the Bolivarian Revolution was one great “Fiesta!” And it will publish photographs that no news network would ever be permitted to publish in today’s world of “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings”.

    It would chronicle the other side of the story, not the blissful euphoria of deluded masses cast in the spell of youthful propaganda, but the broken hearts of individuals seeking her out after concerts in long lines, from Chile to Hong Kong, desperate to touch the cloak of one who has empathised loudly and relentlessly for the past decade at the real-world consequences of catastrophic political decision-making. It would shatter the pitiful deception propagated by an entire music industry that has conveniently indulged the false marketing rhetoric that music alone can magically transform society, without asking the only question that matters: WHICH society are we talking about?

    When a “society” is held hostage to a criminal narco-mafia — please suspend any notion of Left and Right for now, since we are nowhere close to those traditional parameters in the Venezuelan context — it is patently absurd to claim that music is the missing, transformative elixir, especially when music itself is enlisted as a foot soldier. Precisely what IS required is resistance, dissent and protest, the sorts of actions that are permitted and encouraged in the pop world, the art world and the classical world of yesteryear, but somehow censored by the myopic classical world of today, which is too busy selling myths to recall its true, historic mission to reflect inconvenient truths.

    Why is it, I wonder, that, without public protest, thousands upon thousands of Venezuelan musicians have filled international concert halls for years, brandishing a flag on their backs that represents one of the most toxic political movements of this century, paid to do so by that very same toxic political movement, making hundreds of millions in profit for an entire music industry…. yet two broken Venezuelans desperately singing their anthem in a concert hall should elicit even one objection!

    A concert hall is indeed a sacred space. It is because is is a sacred space that these people chose it to send their message of pure desperation, sadness, solidarity and profound gratitude for Gabriela’s tireless, selfless peddling of justice. And they chose to do it in the very same sacred space carefully chosen by Chavismo all these years to launder the truth of unspeakable human suffering back home with the international detergent of Mahler and Mozart.

    One day, she will write that book.

    1. John Borstlap says:

      OK, but all this only demonstrates that classical music as such is not an appropriate vehicle for political action. All those Venezuelan musicians sent into the world have been misused to lend legitimy to an abject regime, and that is not the fault of the art form.

      1. Sam McElroy says:

        With respect, John… Of course it is not the fault of the art form, given that an art form can not possibly be a moral agent in itself! But the fact is that ALL art forms are vehicles for expression, positive and negative, light and dark, from personal sentiments to broader political messaging. You know this. It is nothing new. What the couple in the front row did was to generate THIS conversation — it is now global, after all — by making their desperate voices heard at a source whose echo would reach furthest. They were not singing about wheelie bin collections after all, but death itself!

        As I said above, this is perfectly expectable in other art media. Only people like you seem to censor it in today’s rarified and sanitised classical music world. I am terribly sorry for the gentleman who felt inconvenienced to be subjected to the weeping of tortured masses via the brave duet to which he was spontaneously subjected and which was not on the program, but he will be fine in the morning, I’m quite sure. Unlike the tortured masses, about whom we are now talking, and whom you could help by contacting Gabriela on FB, instead of replying here, and asking her how to send them food packages and medicines. I’m not kidding. Best, S.M.

        1. Anon says:

          If “music cannot be a moral agent” (I agree with you), then was Gabriela wrong to say that “Music is about humanity, otherwise it means nothing”?
          I suggest she was wrong, since not every piece of music exists with an intention to draw emotion (e.g. some may be written merely as a technical exercise in counterpoint, but that wouldn’t stop it being a piece of music or meaning something. A piece written to punish listeners, or to glorify a despicable regime could hardly be ‘humane’ but still music. There’s no need for music to be ‘good not evil’ in order for it to be music.). That doesn’t stop a performer imbuing a piece with emotion, humanity, a story, as they see it, but that is about them and what they do with it, not about the work or the music itself.

      2. erich says:

        That’s why it’s a pity that this excellent protest did not take place in the Waldbühne where Dudamel was conducting before a much larger audience…there seems to be a certain schizophrenia associated with his Venezuelan connection…

        1. Minutewaltz says:

          Well said, Erich.

      3. Mary Black says:

        A classical concert is an excellent venue for a making a protest. It reaches the more affluent folk, if they did it at a Rock concert it would just be ignored unless Bob Geldof was doing it. Venezuela is a real basket case, they are running out of loo rolls and need over 50 million just to keep both ends clean.

  5. John Borstlap says:

    The pianist may have given a beautiful rendering of the piece – she herself reviewed her playing already – but music is not a vehicle for political messages at locations far removed from the place concerned. What should ‘the world’ do: invade in Venezuela? Should Germany send troops to a very complex and chaotic political and social situation? One could think of a German / Berlin initiative to send food and goods to Venezuela, but organizing such thing is hardly something falling within the competence of a concert hall or orchestra or soloist. There is something cheap and hypocritical surrounding such ‘political activism’, an easy moralistic posing, showing-off one’s commitment to humanity where it is not connected to any price to be paid. The man in the audience who protested, was right.

    1. Minutewaltz says:

      “What should ‘the world’ do?”

      Well for a start Corbyn and his Momentum supporters could admit they are wrong to support the Chavez/Maduro regime.
      However pigs will fly before that happens.
      I can’t believe more people – journalists and broadcasters – aren’t challenging Corbyn about his support for this wicked regime which has brought that beautiful country to its knees.

    2. Ungeheuer says:

      Very true. It’s hijacking of totally unrelated events for publicity. I am also in agreement with the attendee who shouted “this is not the place …..” And, last I checked, the Tchaikovsky 1st pno cto is as far removed from Caracas as Hindemith to soap operas, say. Or something like that.

      1. Sam McElroy says:

        Ungeheuer… There is really nothing more frustrating than a 1st world commentator (and always the same ones) so lacking in empathy or basic human sensitivity as to pithily conflate the desperate cry of the oppressed with “hijacking for publicity”. That you fail to see the human connective tissue between Tchaikovsky’s personal and yearning beauty, Gabriela’s creative fight for her people, and these anonymous protester’s yearning to be heard, all within a public space designed for the specific purpose of exploring the human spirit, makes me wonder why on earth you even read an arts blog.

        If a couple stands up in the sacred moment of silence just before the first downbeat of a concerto, and sings their national anthem, shouldn’t we at least ask why? Shouldn’t we grant them the courtesy to ask what they may be trying to tell us, and ask ourselves what actions we can take to intercede? Do we tell the man who stood in front of the tanks in Tiananmen Square that it wasn’t the time or place? Do we ascribe the same logic to the suffragette who threw herself in front of the King’s horse? Or the self-immolating Tunisian who precipitated the Arab Spring? Is geography your limiting factor alone? Isn’t the whole point of protest that it should A. have a moral justification, and B. be carried out in such a place as to generate the conversation so desperately needed to effect a change of circumstances for the protesting group? The only reason why this protest took place in a concert hall is because the world’s concert halls have themselves been hijacked – without so much as a squeak – as the propaganda venue of choice for Chavismo for 18 years. Venezuelans are trying to change the music-driven narrative away from myth and non-consciousness to one of truth and conscious engagement. Isn’t that plainly obvious? And commendable? If you were on the receiving end of this state-engineered deprivation, would you honestly be complaining that someone had sung your national anthem in a far away concert hall in order to register their protest and cry for help?

        1. John Borstlap says:

          The problem is context and effectiveness. One can feel committed to predicaments at other places in the world where people get into scraps, but protesting at classical concerts because the performer is Venezuelan, does not seem to be the most effective way to attract attention to what happens in V. Of course classical music is all about humanity and our relation to the world, we go into concerts in the hope to be uplifted and to be more human, and when we leave the concert hall we can think of ways of how to put our inspiration in practice. But confusing the two things is counterproductive and, I say it again, a bit cheap. The real challenge is the question of how to help. For instance, the flood of war refugees in Germany requires both political action (which is taken) and direct support in the communities (which is happening) and lots of private action is taken to help these people. Whether civilians that help refugees have been to a classical music concert or not, is irrelevant, and if some action at a concert to draw attention to the refugee problem, would have been as inappropriate as singing the V hymn to make sure the audience gets the message that there is a tragedy developing in that country. It is all really confused and not thought-through, however it may be sympathetic as a gesture.

          1. Angelique says:

            “This is not the place” is a privileged statement. It’s always the right time and place to care about saving human lives. As for the concert hall being geographically removed from Venezuela: you should care about other people, regardless of their location. That’s we make change in the world. By helping people even if they don’t live near us. What can we do? Donate your resources for starters! Those people are starving with the measly rations the government allows them.

  6. Gustavo Coronel says:

    The public gave their verdict on what happened. One man protested the “political” act. The audience approved the gesture. Berlin was the proper scenario for this gesture, as this is a city still very much conscious of having fallen in the hands of monsters at one point in history. The Nazi past is still very much in the minds of berliners, who by now have learnt that silence is not the way to combat totalitarianism.

    1. manuela hoelterhoff says:

      ..would it really be so difficult for Dudamel, a man with power, influence and money, to arrange a food airlift in the Berlin tradition?

    2. John Borstlap says:

      Classical music is in itself also not the way to combat totalitarianism.

      1. Allen Boxer says:

        I agree with the above comment wholeheartedly. Music has been a part of human culture since the beginning of man, and I consider myself lucky to be able to create and interpret music as a profession.

        That said, it isn’t music that causes war, or music that mismanages a country’s resources and people, or music that can bring back the snow to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The romantic idea that we can make real change in the world through art is just that: a romance. We often look back in history and ascribe political and social changes to prevailing art movements at the time, when it’s madness to think that it’s the art pummeling politicians and warlords into compliance and not hunger, profligacy and human misery that are shaping our art.

  7. esfir ross says:

    The greatest pianist and smartest man Gerald Moore gives the best advice. Love his books. “Being a pianist’s very difficult. If you want something easier-become a brain surgeon”. I cite it all the time.

  8. Anon says:

    The Venezuelan question is a complex one, politically, historically, economically.
    But let’s not forget, this is not a unilateral conflict.
    All hell broke loose after a democratically elected Chavez nationalized the Venezuelan oil industry, effectively ending US possession and control over the country. The rest is history. An unfortunate one, one that doesn’t know purely good guys and purely bad guys.

    The people suffer yes. But they suffer from a multitude of reasons, not a singular one.
    It’s naive at best, to single out the Chavez/Maduro regime without also taking into account the dirty history of the US interventions in Latin America, covert and open, for over onehundred years.

    Mr. McElroy, with all due respect, your irrational hyperbole is hard to read and also incomprehensible to anyone who looks at the situation in Venezuela with analytical intellect *and* empathy.

    1. John Borstlap says:

      Agreed.

      Actually, it should be the USA that should open an air bridge with goods, to make good what they have done to the country.

      1. Steve P says:

        I don’t recall the US nationalizing the oil and throwing bread & circus to the people. Everyone – and I mean the entire damn world – was perfectly content to sing and dance and el sistema away during the good times that followed.
        I am very sad to see the people of Venezuela suffering due to the economic depredations that seem to always follow socialist takeover. The protest by the audience members and the explanation by the performer afterwards will hopefully awaken the world to the plight of people subjugated by any government that believes in robbery to finance itself.

    2. Sam McElroy says:

      ANON… Your commentary, I am sorry to say, is so vapid, threadbare and misleading as to be irresponsible.

      I can only urge anyone interested in this subject to research for themselves the causes of the current crisis, and they will find that, contrary to Anon’s clichéd non-analysis and blame-gaming, the causes lie squarely and singularly in the catastrophic and economic and social “policies” of Chavismo.

      These are the main causes of today’s crisis, and I invite knowledgeable contributors, as opposed to the armchair Che Guevara brigade, to set me straight or add to the list: aggressive nationalization and subsequent corruption of the petro-carbon sector; expulsion of the skilled labour force in that sector leading to a drop-off in production at a time of historic petro-commodity price rises; neglect of the sector’s infrastructure; a lack of economic diversification due to the engineered erosion of the private sector and an ideological conviction in state dependency; arbitrary expropriation of private property; artificial currency controls and price fixing; grossly irresponsible overspending in relation to oil-generated revenues, accompanied by excessive commodity hand-outs to ideological soulmates in the hemisphere; lack of investment in any sovereign fund, as exemplified by the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund; erosion of the free press; wholly undemocratic dissolution of the separation of powers; increase in human rights violations, including the incarceration of political opponents; erosion of the judicial system, leading to 800% increase in homicide and 97% impunity; transparency index of similar failed state nations, i.e. rampant corruption; state involvement in the global drug trade: state support of terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah, including money laundering and the sale of citizenship from embassies in the Middle-East… etc etc…

      You need more? You still want to blame the USA? It’s ok, Maduro does every day. “Economic warfare”, he calls it. Even when his wife’s nephews were caught smuggling 800kg of coke into the US on a presidential plane with diplomatic passports provided by the foreign ministry under Delcy Rodriguez — you may remember her, since she introduced Dudamel and the SB orchestra to the UN Security Council last year — he cried conspiracy. So you’re in distinguished company!

      1. Anon says:

        Mr. McElroy, I’m not here to get dragged down and caught in your limited compulsive dichotomy. The world is a bit more complex than a Disney movie for kids.
        Chavismo didn’t come out of thin air first of all. One can be opposed to the regime in Venezuela *and* point out the misdeeds of the US in the subcontinent. It’s certainly possible for independent thinkers, unless one has a conflict of interest.

        1. Josh G says:

          Sam, you are spot on in absolutely everything you have said. Incredibly knowledgable, easy to read, informational responses. Thank you. Anon is clearly a brainless Chavista with nothing more to tell you other than ‘blame the US!’ and that your comments are unreadable. People like Anon are not worth your precious time. They will always refuse to be educated.

          1. Anonymous says:

            Well said.
            Chavistas refused to be educated after their were brainwashed.

          2. Anon says:

            Well, “Josh”, you are an excellent example for someone who sees a nail in everything since the only tool he knows is a hammer. I’m so far from being a “Chavista” that your comments excite great laughter here. Keep the great humor up by any means.

    3. Steven Holloway says:

      Well said.

  9. Platonov says:

    For all the accomplishments of El Sistema, I don’t think the photogenic divas chosen by the state to represent the country as soloists or conductors can truly claim to compete with someone of the stature of a Sviatoslav Richter. a David Oistrakh, let alone a Mravinsky. Or what about the great Alexis Weissenberg, who was barely able to escape the camps with his mother thanks to his otherworldly gift for music ALONE. No doubt the Venezuelan *Maestra* Montero has virtuosity to spare, but this scatterbrained, pompously dramatic attempt to justify stage and auditorium fireworks only brings to focus her oh so synthetic beauty, the fact that like many others her generation, it is not her talent that brought her to the top, but her value as eye candy for a culture and media so focused on the image. Que guapa, que bella, que linda, que despampanante – how beautiful, how pretty, how cute, how ravishing – indeed she is. But if she had had the artistry all those late, aforementioned artists of an older generation – part of the je ne se quoi the pianist Levit refers to in his own review – she would have politely told those two attention grabbing improptu singers to return their nationalist tin pot music to the gutter where it came from, and where it always belongs, like all art corrupted by politics, all propaganda; and leave the stage to true art.

    1. Sam McElroy says:

      I have never read anything as moronic in all my life as your commentary, Platonov. What a pity people like you still inhabit our industry, presuming you even have a seat at the table. You show utter contempt for a woman who has achieved her success on merit alone, despite swimming against the Venezuelan tsunami, a woman who pushes the limits of creativity on stage and tirelessly represents the oppressed of her country off stage while risking all to do so. How deeply ironic and sad that I have to go to a classical music blog to find such ignoble anachronisms as yourself…. Do some research before you hurl insults….

  10. Nick says:

    Agreed, Steve.

    Socialism brings problems always and everywhere!! Venezuela is no exception. It will suffer until something politically drastic happens. So be it.

    1. Anon says:

      Socialism might bring problems, but so does US imperialism, with the notable exception of defeating Nazi-Geramny in WWII.

      All the supremacist ideologies that are based on unilateral domination rather than multilateral cooperation are a catastrophy for humanity.

      1. John Borstlap says:

        True.

        And most things are catastrophic for humanity, whatever the intention. Even Christ could not prevent being used as the cause of a trail of disasters, which was probably entirely unintended.

      2. Nick says:

        Some EXCEPTION, ah?
        US capitalism did not produce worlds worst tyrants, socialism did.

      3. Sue says:

        The difference between these two diametrically opposed forms of oppression is that one pretends it is helping the ordinary people whilst the other one does not – it is reactionary. That’s a BIG difference.

        1. Nick says:

          Indeed, a HUGE DIFFERENCE. The latter is unpretentious, and does not produce tyrants! Any of the US leaders ever, a tyrant? However plenty in France, Germany Russia, Venezuela, Romania, Czechoslovakia…the list is endless. Reactionary does NOT equal extreme. And reactionary is most often positive than not. It is return to to the better…status quo ante…

  11. Gabriela Montero says:

    To all of you non- Venezuelan commentators such as Anon, who passionately defend Chavismo, despite the now overwhelming evidence that all it really and unequivocally created was a failed state, a narco mafia empire, increased poverty, 800% inflation, inmeasurable violence, and what is now a genocide on all fronts, I invite you to spend a month in Venezuela without hired security, without foreign money, and living as an ordinary Venezuelan does.

    Go ahead, buy a one way ticket to what is now, hell on earth. If you survive a month, then we’ll talk.

    1. Nick says:

      BRAVO, Bravissimo, Gabriela!!! This is a real slap on the politically correct nobodies’ cheeks. Not only you are an extraordinary musician, phenomenal improvisor and brilliant pianist, but you are also a real MENSCH!!! Bravo!

      There are way too many of these politically correct annoying “anons” and “sues”. They do not know what it is to actually live under a socialist/communist regime. All their pampered lives they enjoyed the fruits of normal society in the UK or US or elsewhere in Western world, and heard about socialism only from the books (most often written by socialists).
      Let them all buy a one way ticket to Venezuela to appreciate the regime! Let’s see how long they will survive there.

      1. Anon says:

        Nick, I in fact do know how it is, which is why I try to have an analytical and historically informed point of view on the situation.
        But do YOU know how it is to live under such circumstances?

        1. Nick says:

          Anon, yes, unfortunately I do and not for one day, but for 28 long years!!! So, I’ve had my share of socialism and can tell you: “analytical” and so called “historically informed” point will not help much. One has to LIVE IT, not analyze it. If you LIVE IT you would not need any analysis. Things would have been very clear.

          Let’s end this useless conversation, since I did this many times already, so I know your breed, pseudo intellectual and politically correct well balanced.

          Somebody “Platonov” (seems like a Russian name) had the audacity to compare and mix apples and oranges, Richter with Montero with Mravinsky or Oistrakh and Weissenberg – all people of totally different magnitudes and talents who have absolutely nothing to do with Gabriela Montero, besides all of them are DEAD. And then mounted a sexist insult on Montero obviously on no grounds, since Montero is not the only pretty face on the music horizon and her fame has very little to do with her looks. Looks do not contribute to brilliant improvisations!! Talent, inventiveness and good ears do.

        2. Nick says:

          So do I, Anon, so do I ….for 28 long years.
          So, you do not tell me anything….and let us finish this useless debate. I’ve had too many in my life with people like you. All of you think that by having an investigative mind and historical, politically correct analytical upbringing you can win any debate. You might win a DEBATE, but you LOSE EVERYTHING ELSE. You are boring.

    2. Anon says:

      Dear Mrs. Montero,

      I greatly respect and admire you as an artist.

      But where did I say I defend Chavismo? Even ‘passionately’? Nowhere. I don’t.

      You commit the common fallacy of ‘who is not with me fully is against me’.

      Also there is irony in your words, when you claim to speak from authority about the situation on the ground in Venezuela, but in fact have spent your whole life since childhood abroad.

      Let’s have an argument any time. But not this propagandistic hyperbole please, it does not help anyone, particularly not the people in Venezuela.

      1. Josh G says:

        You really love that word… hyperbole. I wonder if you even know what it means. Simple mind.

        1. Anon says:

          Maybe you wonder, “Josh”. Who cares.

  12. Gregor Tassie says:

    Politics should be kept out of the arts, Ms Montero is unpatriotic as well as being stupid, there are many terrible totalitarian countries including the USA which has a fascist head of state and of course our PM loves him …….

    1. Steven says:

      What remarkable mental gymnastics

    2. Nick says:

      Whoa!!!! Another asshole on this blog!! Another uneducated idiot. “USA is a totalitarian country…a fascist head of state…..Well, insult for insult: YOU ARE A TOTAL MORON, Gregor Tassie. Do not bother to answer. Answers from cretins like you I have heard a million times.

      “Montero is stupid” and “Trump is a fascist” – lovely, all that from an idiot Brit! I wonder what US enemies say, if so called “allies” and “friends” are so insulting!

    3. Steven Holloway says:

      Unpatriotic? Stupid? Just when I think I’ve read the most idiotic comment on this post, YOU start typing!!

  13. Steven says:

    I don’t see an issue with this as the protest was in good taste and didn’t disrupt the music. Unlike, say, those who constantly interrupt the Jerusalem quartet whenever they perform here, totally ruining the concert experience. Plus, classical music stands for civilisational achievement, so it’s an ideal space for protest against civilisational decline, no?

    1. Nick says:

      Agree absolutely! Nothing wrong. The show must go on….

  14. Raymond says:

    This protest seems to have made its point with minimal disruption. Well done. The pearl-clutching reactions are dismaying — art is sacred! — but if course they just pick up the theme set by the headline. Was the audience “stunned”? I imagine calls for oxygen. Did the concert “become a political protest”? No, a brief protest occurred before the concert. And the protest occurred at this concert because of the soloist, and the musicians were not the target of the protest. Again, well done.


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