Surprise Quizz: what is the more offensive element in the picture on the right?
That Abreu and Dudamel show up on the same stage than Chavez?
That Abreu and Dudamel seem to have a frozen circumstantial smile?
That Chavez wears red tennis shoes?
Or should we be grateful that Chavez is speech-fying and not singing as he does in his Alo Presidente?
Yesterday Antonio Abreu got one of his dreams, a formal training facility for his now world famous youth orchestral system. For this he has had to kiss so many frogs that maybe Chavez is not so bad a frog after all. Abreu has had some success: of the cursed 4th republic the lone institution at this point that chavismo has not tampered much with is the youth system, though at every opportunity that Chavez has had to crash the party he has done so. Even though that by his usual standards he was rather muted yesterday: after all he was right to suspect that some of the world cultural cameras were filming Dudamel and thus were filming him. For those who understand Spanish, and the stomach for it, I will embed the youtube clip published by the Venezuelan news agency and Aporrea:
I suppose that I cannot blame Abreu from trying to save his life work (though as long as Chavez is alive and president Abreu will preside an endangered system, and one definitely used increasingly for propaganda).
However the one I can start putting some blame on is Dudamel who by know should know better. After all he could have certainly claimed some international performing conflict and come later, say for the formal first concert and leave the inauguration festivities to Abreu. If he needs to please Chavez on occasion he can show at some other minor festivity, or something.
I suppose that in his musical education Dudamel was not informed of the sad story of many famous German musicians and directors that were unable to break up with the Nazi power for a variety of reasons and who, like Karajan, had to carry all through their lives that weight. Whatever reasons they had, these German musicians, once they expurgated from the repertory Jewish masterpieces, were free to do and to play pretty much whatever they wanted through the war, remaining the cultural symbol of Germany and thus becoming the cultural symbol of Nazi Germany. Fortunately for Dudamel and Abreu chavismo is ignorant enough that I do not think for the time being they need to purge from the repertoire in Venezuela Appalachian Spring or Rhapsody in Blues.
I have one little piece of advice for Dudamel: time to stop. You helped your mentor enough, he has now his concert hall for his orchestral system. You paid him back handsomely for all that he did for you. Abreu is old enough and he probably will have little career prospects, or desires, in a post Chavez world. Your duty now is to prepare yourself for the post Chavez leadership and thus your duty is to distance yourself from Chavez and manage never to be seen with him on stage anymore. After all, as the very busy director of the LA orchestra you can find surely plenty of excuses. the youth orchestral system will be served best if you stay from now on in the background. Do not make Abreu's Faustian bargain yours!
PS: and if someone thinks I was too gentle on the whole thing, read the piece from Gustavo Coronel. I forgot to mention that I did get the picture from there though I had to trace it to Telesur which obviously does not subscribe to E! Police fashion show.....
UPDATE: in a recent column Marianela Salazar confirms that indeed Dudamel is pro Chavez. I suppose that since his origins are rather humble there might be some sympathy for Chavez' causes for a Dudamel who probably had had to neglect some other aspects of his eduction to dedicate himself to his art. It is certainly some gap in his education that allows him to forget that if Dudamel is a great tale of rags to riches it is because the orchestral system was created BEFORE Chavez and that himself is a product of the "cuarta republica" not "republica bolivariana". Certainly no pre Chavez president would have dared use Dudamel for propaganda the way Chavez does.