Maestro is censured for naked selfie

Maestro is censured for naked selfie


norman lebrecht

August 12, 2023

The Dutch National Opera conductor Lorenzo Viotti has apologised for posting a naked image of himself this week on Instagram. His message reads as if he was persuaded to remove it by his career managers.

He writes:
One of my posts in the last month was troubling for some and I understand people have different values and believes so I decided to remove the post. Sometimes it’s better to take a step back.
My social media presence revolves around my ultimate passion, classical music, alongside other cherished aspects of my life such as family, friends, sports, fashion, and the value of freedom.
We live and we learn and I will never stop learning 🙏🏻


  • prof says:

    why on earth would anyone care enough to be offended

  • Maria says:

    Mind boggling he should want that photo to go round as an image of his chosen profession! In any case, not a pretty sight!

  • A.L. says:

    How does one spell n-a-r-c-i-s-s-i-s-t ?

  • Bigotti says:

    100% pathetic.

    • Donna Pasquale says:

      That he felt obliged to remove the post?

    • Tristan says:

      indeed but that’s what the circus has become – hyped like Currentzis Grigorian and many others….don’t get me wrong the latter ones do have high qualifications but the audience nowadays and even more the mediocre critics go crazy…especially in Salzburg, pathetic indeed

  • Oliver says:

    And he needed to “learn” not to do that?

    • Tamino says:

      Even his retraction is a narcissistic statement of trying to impress by posing. “look what a devoted classical musician and lifelong learner I am”. The picture is not the problem. It’s his attitude trying to show off all the time, rather than being somebody, and in the field of professionalism letting your work do the PR.

      I get it that in the field of fashion, posing and superficiality is the norm.
      But in classical music most people you work with are dedicated introverts, having devoted their life to mastering a very hard to do skill. Both worlds are hardly compatible, it’s impossible to get the trust of the musicians, if you are a dandy and poser.

  • Willym says:

    The rattle of clutched pearls must have been deafening.

  • J.H. says:

    By posting a naked photo of himself, Mr. Viotti only shows that he is a narcissist and wants to get attention for non-musical reasons. It has absolutely nothing to do with freedom. He would be far wiser to try to get the public’s attention through his conducting skills and music making, instead of distracting from it with self-absorption and conceit.
    I have no problem with nudity whatsoever and I am not a prude or uptight in any way, but I don’t like narcissistic people who use their bodies to try and draw attention to themselves. Mr. Viotti’s antics have nothing to do with music making and everything to do with an inflated ego craving attention and adulation.
    I have no desire to see my doctor, my lawyer, my plumber, my electrician or my dentist naked, even if several of them are extremely attractive and sexy men and I have no desire to see an aspiring conductor posing naked in the hope that I will notice him and then listen to his performances. Just focus on the music and on conducting great concerts, offer insightful and passionate performances and I can assure you that I will notice him as a great musician.

  • Marcello says:

    They say the cover-up is worse than the crime.

    Sometimes the retraction is worse than the act.

  • TP says:

    fashion as a passion? 🙂 Just before value of freedom. Priorities.

  • Ludwig's Van says:

    Does that mean his photoshoot with Yuja is off?

  • barry r graham says:

    Honestly, Europeans being trouble by nudity is the headline here. As an exchange student in HS to Sweden I saw my entire host family naked within the first 12 hours I was there. It’s an adorable photo and he’s got a great body. SO why not?

  • SNORRI says:

    What an idiot.

  • Innominato 32 says:

    I know a world famous, ancient conductor (male) who likes to send “Weiner-style” selfies to singers (female) and musicians (female). In this day an age … can you believe that?

  • Amedeo says:

    Turned out to be quite a chat bot. Back to basics, I guess.

  • Lp says:

    Ah that’s a shame! Viotti is at his best naked, the clothed one waving a stick is far less interesting…

  • Tamino says:

    The internet never forgets…

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    How cringeworthy. Spare us these deluded narcissists.

  • zayin says:

    The hypocrites who throw around the term “narcissist” is hilariously ridiculous, we all show off our best assets, we are all narcissistic in our own ways: if you have a great head of hair and not going bald, you are thrilled and showing that off, if you have a nice tux, you wear that to the opera and not your khaki pants, if you have a nice house you worked all your life to get you show that off, and yes, if you had a great body that you worked all your life to get, you too would show that off.

    Western petit bourgeois with their western petit bourgeois hang-ups.

    • Tamino says:

      not true, and not everybody is showing off everything they might have. do people with a nice body go out or to concerts naked? no? why not? maybe because they want to enjoy themselves without special attention by others?

    • The View from America says:


    • Anthony Sayer says:

      @zayin: Nonsense. If you feel the need to show off what you think is a personal asset, that’s up to you. People without mental health issues are generally quite content to get on with life and let their talent/personality etc do the talking.

  • Bill says:

    At least when you are a tenured musician in an orchestra, despite being treated like a number your whole career, you don’t have to self promote yourself much. On the conducting side on the other hand, it’s like the world of celebrity, where you always have to do something, no matter how ridiculous, to stay relevant in people’s minds.

  • Admirer says:

    I think his body is nice and strong and healthy-flaunt it while you can

  • Gerry Feinsteen says:

    Not sure this is a selfie, given that neither of his own hands is snapping the shot

    • Guest says:

      There were two photos in this post. The other was his girlfriend who obviously took the picture. She is wearing a bathing suit. The caption is “pas de deux”. They are both having fun.

  • Robert Holmén says:

    As internet-raised youth rise to positions of importance in the business, I foresee the day when orchestras will look for candidates who *can* post revealing selfies.

    The swimsuit competition will become a standard part of the audition process, even as gate-keepers make the obligatory noises about the talent competition being just as important.

  • christopher storey says:

    I don’t fancy yours !

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    You may well have a point.

  • Alter Frager says:

    The Emperor’s new clothes

  • Jeff says:

    Isn’t one of the most telling aspects the staging of the picture – as if we are intruding into his privacy to look at his naked body, which coincidentally has every muscle tensed and his stomach desperately held in. I think this is known as a ‘humble brag’ the sad domain of the internet narcissist.

  • Anthony says:

    What a numpty!

  • Mauricio Fernandez says:

    È carne cruda

  • Ernest says:

    I think he’s trying to draw a new crowd to his concerts by promoting his other hidden attributes. Nothing wrong with that.

  • Daniel Reiss says:

    It’s a terrific picture. It has no connection with his professional life. He is entitled to a private life, too. Who, outside Barbieophobic countries, is truly offended by such an image? BTW, the “offender” removed the photo and apologized. We see it today because someone else reposted it, apparently without permission. I, personally, have no regrets at being exposed to his self(ie) exposure: it’s a terrific picture.

  • Dominic Stafford says:

    People really ought to get a grip…

  • Daniel Reiss says:

    Looking on Google I see that this isn’t his first shirtless pic. If he were singing Jokanaan or Billy Budd, would anyone object? (Or Thais or Salome?) Or if he had a dual career as maths teacher and fashion model? As for his pause or redirection, it happens sometimes, eg Peter Serkin and Ilan Volkov, both also eye candy. I’ve never heard Mr Viotti, but all things considered I don’t understand the fuss over this photo. I love it! Too bad Philistines and Pharisees pressured him to remove it! They made him take it off…

  • John Pickford says:

    It appears that the photo was taken for humorous reasons considering the pose, expression and location. I don’t know how well he makes music but there doesn’t appear to be much of a baton technique to excite the crowd.

  • Tim Walton says:

    Nothing wrong with the photo! There must be a lot of silly prudes around to make such a fuss. It’s a damn good photo!

  • Jan Venter says:

    So whats so bad about that photo you bunch of bigots ? He isnt even showing his member….

  • Rio Fer says:

    Lorenzo Viotti, is way better working as a perfume and fashion model (I swear I saw his picture advertising a brand of perfume at a department store) – than on a pit or a podium in front of an orchestra. I would encourage him to keep at it and leave music alone. He’s ok as a conductor but his career is mainly courtesy of his father’s name and reputation.

  • God y'all are ossified says:

    Sometimes I wonder if our audiences are shrinking because young people know that, if they go to an orchestra concert, chances are they’ll have to sit next to people like you.

    The conductor is also a person, and posting risque selfies is a thing some people do. Big f*cking deal. Welcome to 2023. If you liked it better in the 1930’s, feel free to drop dead. This kind of puritan attitude, to sanctify some dude because he’s in a position of artistic expression and expect him to behave according to the etiquette of the times of f*cking Karajan, of is a core element of the alienation that prospective audiences feel.

    You are the prudish, judgy, arrogant, rotting old great-aunts that everyone avoids at the family gatherings. Don’t be surprised young people don’t want to come hang out with you in the concert hall.

  • Hans Nieuwenhuis says:

    It is 2023 not 1963. The comments on his photo are ridiculous and narrow minded. He looks ok, by the way. Great for his female and, of course, also male fans!

  • Rudy says:

    I think that Gulda performed an all-Mozart recital at the Musikverein naked, many years ago…
    Are there ANY photos of the recital around ?