Maestro won’t let go of Mortier lawsuit

Maestro won’t let go of Mortier lawsuit


norman lebrecht

March 03, 2014

The conductor Jesús López Cobos has launched an appeal against the court ruling that he was not slandered by Gerard Mortier and the Real Theatre over the ending of his period as music director.

The lower court ruled that a conductor, as a public figure, should be prepared to accept different opinions and a degree of criticism.

The maestro, evidently, disagrees. He insists it’s a matter of honour.



  • Observer says:

    The appeal, initiated by Lopez-Cobos’ attorneys hinges on a valid point: the Madrid courts who threw out the defamation charges last month did not accept the declaration of Miguel Muñiz, General Director of the Teatro Real during JLC’s tenure there.

    It’s not general criticism which JLC is protesting, it’s an outright lie that Mortier made to the Austrian press. Mortier claimed that he “fired” Lopez-Cobos” when actually Lopez-Cobos’ contract had expired. It’s logical that the courts should consider the declaration of the General Director of the Real who was responsible for Lopez-Cobos’ contract. They failed to do this. Hence the appeal.

    Meanwhile, outspoken Madrid blogger Beckmesser, who has detailed inside knowledge of Teatro Real politics, which he never hesitates to publicize, has presented today his opinion on the situation. He is claiming a rather extraordinary slant involving a long-time feud between Dominique Meyer, General Manager of Vienna Opera and Mortier which is at the root of this controversy.

    Here’s Beckmesser:

  • sdReader says:

    Good for him. He’s right!

  • Paul says:

    Yes he is! Jesus Lopez-Cobos is a man of great principle and honor he’s been slandered. While it’s sad that Mortier is apparently dying of cancer, it doesn’t excuse his bad behavior in the past.

    • Dave T says:

      This is pathetic.

      Despite the fact that the alleged slanderer is apparently DYING OF CANCER, it is still a “matter of honor” to continue with childish international tantrum.

      Mr. Lopez-Cobos is a kind and humane gentleman. His insistence on continuing this farce is reflecting badly on him. Fired or expired, what difference does it make? If the former, he should consider it a badge of honor. Many men (and women), greater than he, have done so under far more fraught circumstances. Move on and rescue your dignity.

      • Observer says:

        It’s the Maestro’s lawyers who are initiating this. In Spain, honor is paramount, no one likes to lose (especially if they’re right) and I can see where his legal team would not take this injustice lying down.

        You have to remember also, JLC has a long unblemished career internationally. He is not a young man, and has recently overcome serious health issues himself. Why on earth should he or his lawyers allow Mortier, who has a well-documented history of wreaking havoc wherever he goes – have the last word on this, especially if it’s not true?

        Mortier’s cancer diagnosis is not a “get out of jail free” card. Especially since he’s done serious injury to a worthy colleague’s reputation.

        • Dave T says:

          At least according to this blog, it’s something like JLC 20, Moritier 0. I don’t see that the latter has done the serious injury you claim. Perhaps the newspapers and their readers in Spain score it differently. As I see it this is looking less like an attempt to reclaim one’s reputation and more like a farcical premise of a bad opera (read = typical opera).

          How’s this: pistols, dawn, thirty paces. Maybe that would satisfy these fools.

  • Lesley Gould says:

    ROTFLMAO- oohhhhh noooooooooooo.

    good one mr. lebrecht good one- too too funny.

    what honor?

    oh noooooo i can’t stop laughing it hurts tooo muchhhh………….

    the penguin concertmistress in the orchestra pits where, “All of the action is Miss Gould” so said the GREAT MAESTRO 10’s-SON to his waif. oh meee/

    I LOVE THAT you spelled maestro in all lower case letters.

    miss gould & that big tall GORGEOUS HUNK ON THE PODIUM! He was right all along i sure do believe HIM NOw=WOWWWWWWWWW???? Dr Jan Geerling, call Dr. Jan Geerling Physicain to the late concertgebouw????

    your patient can’t stop laughing herself to death. emergingeeeeas-C vitamins pleeeeeeeeeese. oh noooo. the Maestro, the REAL MAN has to carry her out of that crowded pit yet again……… boring. nothing ever changes.

  • Sonja Staron says:

    The only issue is: Was the statement that Cobos-Lopez was fired, true or false. If it is false, it is defamatory because it is a negative statement going to the professional life of the conductor. This has nothing to do with “differing opinions” or “critiques” which a public figure should expect, but with veracity, nor does “freedom of speech” come in. We have the freedom to speak opinions but the responsibility to speak the truth in regards to verifyable facts. The ruling is erroneous and the appeal will prove that the judge is the one who should be fired.

    • Paul says:

      Well said, Sonja. The fact is that JLC was NOT fired. His contract was up and he made the decision not to renew it. His lawyers have provided proof of this. Copies of his contract have been made public and a quick google of news releases from this time confirm that it was very clear to everyone including the press that this was why he left.

      Here’s a 2008 article for example, which describes clearly that his contract at the Real was due to end in 2010 and that he had already decided not to renew it.

      Mortier, in a response to an interview question by the Austrian newspaper Kurier about why there was no Music Director at the Teatro Real, haphazardly stated that he had been obliged to “FIRE” JLC. Later Mortier blamed it on a faulty translation. Mortier, JLC and of course the Kurier reporter all speak fluent German so this was not the case. He did in fact NOT fire JLC which can be proven in any court of law.

      Mortier, in fact, SLANDERED the conductor which is why JLC is requesting a modest monetary compensation for damages.

  • Mapreader says:

    I used google translate on the Spanish blog links,unfortunately it didn’t help at all with the comment from Lesley Gould.