The Many Views of Betty Freeman

The Many Views of Betty Freeman


Betty Freeman at the Libeskind Jewish Museum
in Berlin, April 20, 2000
Photo courtesy Betty Freeman

Betty Freeman with Gerard Mortiér in the rain
in Dresden, May 25, 1998
Photo courtesy Betty Freeman

BETTY FREEMAN: For 9 years now, I’ve been supporting Gérard Mortier‘s program at Salzburg. It’s been for me the liveliest and most attractive contemporary program, contemporary staging of operas, and contemporary music. They have a parallel contemporary emphasis there. This year they’re having 6 concerts that Wolfgang Rihm is doing, for example. So I support Mortier. While he’s at Salzburg I’ll support him, and there’s one more year, so I’ll continue my support through 2001. In 2001 he leaves. And that’s when I probably won’t support Salzburg.

FRANK J. OTERI: Because of the Haider regime?

BETTY FREEMAN: Nope. Just because Mortier’s going to be replaced and I support him.

FRANK J. OTERI: But if there’s somebody else who comes in who does equally adventurous programming…

BETTY FREEMAN: Then it’s open. It seems to be stronger to stay there, and use it as a pulpit to register your displeasure, than it is to resign.

FRANK J. OTERI: Absolutely.

BETTY FREEMAN: George Benjamin, who’s a dear friend of mine, resigned. And he’s only one of 3 people who’ve resigned. The other is, the pianist…

FRANK J. OTERI: Andras Schiff

BETTY FREEMAN: And Mortier rescinded his decision. He’s back there until the end of his contract which is 2001. It’s better to continue to have the program for the 78% of the people who didn’t vote for Haider, than it is to just walk away because Haider and the Freedom Party couldn’t care less if you resign…

FRANK J. OTERI: If anything they’d be thrilled.

BETTY FREEMAN: They’d be thrilled – one Jew less. So you’re not accomplishing anything by walking away. So I think it’s stronger to stay there, and I’ll stay there through the summer of course, and then I’ve already commissioned an opera for Salzburg for next year, but it looks like it’s being put off by Matthias Pintscher.

FRANK J. OTERI: I have to hear some of his music. Are there recordings?

BETTY FREEMAN: No. No there aren’t. But I’ve commissioned his opera and it’s been done, but there’s a hold up. But hopefully, the Lachenmann opera is going to be done in Salzburg next summer, and so that’s would be a big thing that I’d support if it is going to be done because it’s fantastic. I’m supporting the program through the end of Mortier’s day. Then it’s open what happens.

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