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Falklands’ conflict depicted in opera ‘Allies’ based on Pinochet-Thatcher relationship

Monday, June 17th 2013 - 06:51 UTC
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The famous picture of Thatcher when she visited Pinochet at his house arrest in England The famous picture of Thatcher when she visited Pinochet at his house arrest in England

The relationship between former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and ex-Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet has been turned into an opera which opened in Paris for a five-night run. “Allies” revolves around a televised 1999 meeting of the two late leaders when Pinochet was being held under house arrest in Britain.

An anonymous Argentine soldier conscripted in the 1982 war over the Falkland Islands, provides a counterpoint alongside two other characters: a Pinochet aide and Thatcher's nurse.

At the time of the meeting, at which Thatcher famously thanked her old friend and Falklands ally for “bringing democracy to Chile”, Pinochet was fighting a legal battle to avoid extradition to Spain on human rights abuse charges.

Thatcher remained a staunch defender of Pinochet for the rest of her life following his support for Britain during the Falklands conflict which erupted when the Argentine military Junta in 1982 invaded the South Atlantic disputed islands.

Writer Esteban Buch said the opera was openly political and certainly not an invitation “to admire Pinochet or Thatcher”.

“The Malvinas War is the experience of my generation of Argentines. Through Thatcher and Pinochet and the Malvinas War I looked back on my past and the past of my generation,” he said in production notes.

“I absolutely assume a political, committed message, which is clear,” he said, adding that he wanted to trigger in the audience ”something more than the simple affirmation (that) we are against these monsters“.

Pinochet, who ruled Chile with an iron fist from 1973-1990, was linked to thousands of cases of torture, abduction and death. He died aged 91 in 2006 after a heart attack without ever standing trial on any charge. His lawyers successfully argued that ”mild dementia“ prevented him from defending himself.

Thatcher died in April aged 87 following a stroke and a long battle with dementia.

”Allies” will also be performed in Rome and Strasbourg in October and at Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines near Paris in January.


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  • Mr Ed

    Of course, had the Chileans not helped and Britain been defeated, they would have been next. Chile had no plans for aggressive war against her neighbours, unlike Argentina. The original Operation Soberania, Argentina's attack on Chile after losing an international arbitration over the Beagle Channel (run by the UK, oddly enough Argentina agreed to that despite a bogus claim over British territory) planned for 30,000 casualties, a massive regional war averted in 1978 by Papal intervention and in 1982 by the Naval Service, British Army and RAF. Argentinians should be grateful for the blessings of peace brought about by defeat in 1982, the Rule of Law might not be quite there, but democracy is. Just rejoice at that news!

    Jun 17th, 2013 - 11:10 am 0
  • BAdTiMiNg

    The rgs bang on about the Thatcher/ pinochet relationship,as if the UK somehow supported the criminal actions of the chillian regime, so using rg logic...therefore Thatcher n the British then must have been just as sick and so must we as a nation be now. We were alies with the soviets during ww2, Churchill met an appeared to get on like a House on fire with father joe... an stallin made pinochet look like a saint! It was just business... the buisiness of war winning.

    Jun 17th, 2013 - 12:47 pm 0
  • Pete Bog

    What's the betting that' Allies' will deny that Argentina in 1982 was ruled by a genocidal fascist government that made Pinochet's regime look mild in comparison-it'll be the same, 'not peace loving Argentina's fault-everyone else is to blame.'

    Jun 17th, 2013 - 01:10 pm 0
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