You might think a German newspaper on a press freedom crusade could find a more worthy target than a baroque mezzo. Apparently not.
“We would have liked to display a concert photo of the singer here," says the text above. "But her Swiss management set out unacceptable conditions: to submit our photos for selection during the interval and delete the unacceptable ones. We refused to accept.”
And so the Hamburger Abendblatt's effusive review of Cecilia Bartoli's Hamburg concert was published with a blank space where the photo would normally be.
It's unusual for a singer's management to request photo clearance. But it's also unusual for photography to be permittted during a classical concert. If you or I tried it, we'd be chucked out, and rightly so. Most British papers would simply use a library pic to illustrate their reviews.
No doubt the Hamburger Abendblatt's photographer earns a fee if his picture is published, and perhaps the newspaper's circulation increases too. So maybe a little gratitude would be more appropriate than a hissyfit. Cecilia Bartoli is no Angela Merkel, and it's not as if the tabloid-grappling public have a democratic right to know exactly what frock she was wearing.
In any case, her management weren't seeking to prevent publication of every single photo, just those (I presume) which caught her exquisitely mobile features at an unrepresentative angle. As her recent album covers prove, La Ceci has no fear of the merely unflattering in the pursuit of art.
The Hamburger Abendblatt are clearly unwilling to let matters lie: they've instigated a finger-wagging 'debate' with Bartoli's concert promoter, the unfortunately-named Herr Kuhnt.