Announcing the Berlin State Opera’s new season, its music director said the focus would be on Greece.
He said that Greece had suffered ‘for years’ from a European Union led by its finance ministers and ‘at this time, we have a responsibility to give something back. As an artist, we can do that only through culture. ‘
The season will include Greek-themed operas – Richard Strauss’s Elektra, Luigi Cherubini’s Medea and Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo’, but the central spotlight will be on the Greek composer Nikos Skalkottas, who studied in Berlin with Kurt Weill and Philipp Jarnach, attended Arnold Schoenberg’s masterclasses and wrote his first important works in the city – a violin sonata, piano sonatina, the first piano concerto and an octet.
There are two glaring flaws in Barenboim’s statement. First, the EU assault on Greece was led as much by his patron Angela Merkel as by any of the finance ministers. She, if anyone, is to blame for the austerity.
Second, if Barenboim believes that artists can only achieve through culture, why does he persist in making political statements? Does he consider them to be futile?