Dudamel sings ‘que viva espana’

Dudamel sings ‘que viva espana’


norman lebrecht

November 26, 2018

The Madrid Government has approved a Royal Decree granting Spanish citizenship to the Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel.

The official cause given is so that he can maintain ‘a special relationship with our country for family and cultural reasons. Dudamel is married to the Spanish actress Maria Valverde .

Unofficially, he needs to go places that will balk at the passport of failed state Venezuela.




  • Anon says:

    Judging by the latest Twitter storm, I don’t think many Venezuelans want him either. Not too many people have been impressed by his latest response to the massive Venezuelan migration crisis (he says they need a good dose of Beethoven 9 to raise their spirits; they say he can stick his Beethoven where the sun don’t shine). A clean break is probably for the best.

    • Mick the knife says:

      Blame the government for their failures of policy. Your expectations of the Dude are all wrong. His power is to making music not law.

      • Anon says:

        Yes, Venezuelans do blame the government. And many also blame Dudamel for supporting that government for many years and using his music to whitewash the government’s image.

      • Anon says:

        Perhaps you’re unaware that Dudamel has built his career on the idea of the arts as a force for social change?

        • Mick the knife says:

          Not built in support of failing socialist policy; to empower youth through music training. The dude is not your boogeyman.

          • Anon says:

            Yes, built in support of failing socialist policy. Try putting ‘Chavez Dudamel’ into Google Images.

      • Novagerio says:

        So, you can attack Gergiev and Matsuev for supporting their regime, but not the dude, cos he “shits gold”, right?…

        • Mick the knife says:

          If you are addressing me, I’ve never attacked any conductor for anything other than being boring. I’m a big fan of Gergiev.

        • Rgiarola says:

          We all know about biases in this judgment. Barenboim is also attacked here for his political views, both for what he says and doesn’t say. In case of Dudamel, he was the big bet of some very famous reviewers, promoters and managers 10 or more years ago, and now it isn’t just for the political issue, but he isn’t in the podium among other conductors, due to his solemn artist perspectives. Besides subjective opinions, the fact is he wasn’t even cogitate for the last top-notch MD position opened in the last years, although these very famous reviewer include him in the list, by their own wish. Just one example was Berliner Philharmoniker that the choice was another conductor not really too older than Dudamel. He was never a strong candidate at all.
          It is difficult to confess the choice of the wrong horse after lose the Derby. We aren’t talking about a regular career, but about someone that hype was too much in every aspect since he won that 2004 competition, and never equal in classical music history. (Not even Karajan)
          At least the supporters could admit that a backlash now is at least reasonable. However they don’t, and it is the reason your comment has so many thumbs down.
          There is still a need to get guts to criticize Dudamel, even in 2018 that his storm troopers aren’t so effusive anymore. They want him to be above any failure. This isn’t a conversation about music as they claim, since there isn’t a musician that didn’t made a mistake any time. It is part of the natural learning process.

  • MacroV says:

    I don’t think he would need any special grant; presumably he could get it through his spouse, just like any mere mortal.

    He could also readily obtain U.S. citizenship, if he hasn’t already.

    • The Real Anon says:

      There’s a 3-4 year wait for every other mere mortal with a Spanish spouse to get Spanish citizenship. He actually must have had a special grant to get it so fast.

      A Spanish passport is ranked as more powerful than a US passport. Technically you’re not supposed to have both. So he made the right choice. It’s just HOW he did it that is questionable.

  • Hispaconductor says:

    Too bad Haitink, Muti, Salonen, Bychkov, or Jansons don’t need a EU passport… as a Spaniard I would rather have them as conducting-compatriotes than Duda!

    • Rgiarola says:

      Haitink is Dutch, Muti Italian. As far as I know their passport are part of the EU. Anyway, i’ve got your point. Can you see that no one cannot just dislike Dudamel as artist? There isn’t so much Thumbs down if you say the same negative opinion about the other names mentioned. In these cases, you can have your own subjective opinion.

  • It may not be possible for him to renew his Venezuelan passport if it expires. Apparently you can’t pay for it with Venezuelan money.


  • Paolo says:

    Why doesn’t he become an American citizen since he lives and works in the country which embraced him and guaranteed his fame????

    • laurie says:

      probably tax consequences. Americans have to pay on worldwide income.

    • The Real Anon says:

      Laurie is exactly right. US is one of 2 countries in the world which uses “citizen based taxation”. You have to declare your foreign earnings to the US whether or not you live there. High earners run the risk of being taxed twice, once for being a US citizen and again in their country of residence. The law is called FATCA, it’s relatively new and US expats living abroad are denouncing their US citizenship in droves because of it.

      Also, an EU passport makes it much easier for Dudamel to work in Europe.

    • AliceF says:

      America made guaranteed his fame? Come on… he was well known before he even set foot on the Disney Hall. He had already recorded for DG, conducting all majot European orchestras, had been MD of an orchestra in Europe…

      Typical US-American comment: if something or someone is not famous in US-America it means it is not famous (and sometimes not even good!).

  • Phillip Ayling says:

    Any chance that the Dude will quit after about 6 weeks and decide that Spanish Citizenship isn’t all he hoped it would be?

    • Embass2000 says:

      How? He wants it so he can travel around without a visa. The Spanish passport is in that aspect one of the best passports to have.

      With a Spanish passport he can travel visa-free to 156 countries, with the US passport to 154… with the Venezuelan 138.
      159 – Singapore
      158 – Germany
      157 – Sweden, South Korea
      156, Denmark, Finland, Italy, France, Spain, Norwar, Japan, UK
      155 – Luxemburg, Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Portugal
      154 – USA, Ireland, Canada…

      • Rgiarola says:

        German passport can go without Visa to 177 countries and Dudamel has work appointments in that country.
        I don’t think the point is about places he can go or not with a Venezuelan passport since other Venezuelan musician such Payare, Vásquez, Marturet among others can go to any place. Work visa isn’t difficult to get for a well know artist. The point here is the very close relationship of Dudamel with the dictator assassin government that promoted him and vice versa. For example, Israel did not deport every Venezuelan citizens that can get there even with a tourist visa. They deported Dudamel due to his clear support to Chavez/Moreno government. I believe that he will still be deported there, even with Spanish Passport.
        It is a clear attempt to unstick Dudamel to his undeniable connection with political status of Venezuela, since it’s now only cause damage to his music career. However It isn’t just changing citizenship as if he was a persecuted victim that his promiscuous political relationship will be just erased. At least not by people such Gabriela Montero and others really aware about situation in Venezuela even when north hemisphere people were blarneying that government for their “El Sistema” and all social improvements perpetuated including the rise of a person such Dudamel.

  • Barbara says:

    Great pictures of beautiful Spanish sites.

  • anon says:

    Just another South American refugee trying to make a living in Spain. I wonder if he had to prove that his marriage was real to immigration authorities… (“Which side of the bed do you sleep on?”)

  • Iago says:

    This happened last March. No news

    • The Real Anon says:

      Great article revealing that Spanish citizenship was granted to the former president of Colombia at the same time.

      This is such BS. There is a huge waiting list for Spanish nationality – people who have lived and worked in Spain, often for decades, many of whom are also married to Spaniards. Most have been paying at least a third of their salaries (“cotizando”) into the Spanish social security system for years. They’ve contributed significantly to Spain’s economy.

      These people have followed the law, taken the exams (language and culture and govt. tests), paid the application fees and have been told to expect to wait 4 yrs. for a reply to their request for citizenship.

      So in waltz Dudamel and the former president of Colombia who, by virtue of the fact that they are married to Spanish women just like so many other applicants (Dudamel for less than 2 yrs.) and whatever other bs the Spanish govt. is claiming here, jump the line of the other thousands of people waiting for citizenship.

      People waiting are not usually making the kind of money that Dudamel and this ex-prez have. They have to continue to pay to renew expensive residence permits in order to remain lawfully in Spain. They have to hire expensive lawyers to guide them thru the red tape. Many are sent home, separated from their loved ones because their citizenship has not yet been approved and their residency permits have run out.

      Bestowing citizenship on Dudamel and this ex-prez so quickly and effortlessy is scandalous. A conductor who makes 6 figures gets nearly automatic citizenship in one year while leagues of rank and file foreign orch. players in Spanish orchestras who make a fraction of that and who’ve paid a large percentage of their salaries in taxes to the Spanish govt. are required to wait for years.