Gerard Mortier today refused to give up his job without a fight. On learning that the Teatro Real intend to replace him with his successor immediately, he told Efe "I have cancer but I'm not dead yet."
Mortier's contract runs to 2016. But the theatre's board announced at 5pm today that Joan Matabosch, the successor formally announced yesterday, would be taking his place straight away instead of waiting two years.
Nobody told Mortier. Recuperating from a recent 3-hour operation, he only learned what was going on from the papers.
The board insist they have not fired Mortier, but merely complied with his stated wish to wash his hands of the Teatro Real if his successor was not to his liking.
Mortier accuses the government of using "Franco methods" to push through their candidate.
"I'm fighting a battle on all fronts," he said, alluding to his illness. "Life is too short, and this will not ruin a 40-year career".
"There are many good people in Spain," he concluded. And also, no doubt, many good employment lawyers - the only ones likely to profit from this cack-handed fiasco.