An Israeli musician has blamed Italian airline Alitalia after her 17th century viola emerged “savagely vandalized” from the flight.
In a Facebook post Wednesday, Myrna Herzog posted photos of her severly damaged “original 17th century Lewis viola da gamba,” which she said looked like “a car ran over it.”
Herzog said the damage occurred even though the airline had assured her that the instrument would be “taken by hand into the plane and out of it.” Photos of the instrument she posted to Facebook showed it was being transported in a protective case and had a large “fragile” sticker on it.
She said Alitalia has refused to take responsibility and claimed it “hates musicians.”
ALITALIA# HATES MUSICIANS!!This is how Alitalia# delivered to me my original 17th century Lewis viola da gamba, after…
Herzog implored others to share her post, prompting a backlash against the company by social media users.
In response to a post on its Facebook page, Alitalia said, “We regret what happened with Mrs. Myrna Herzog and we are carrying out all necessary investigations.”
However, it said common practice with delicate instruments was to purchase an extra seat for the item and that “according to a preliminary investigation, no such request has been presented by the passenger neither during booking nor at the time of departure from Rio de Janeiro.”
Alitalia said Herzog was informed of the possibility of purchasing another seat “but she refused.”
Despite appearing to deny responsibility, the airline said it would “proceed, having established the facts, with the reimbursement in compliance with the international regulations in force.”
According to her profile on the website of the Ensemble Phoenix, of which she is musical director, Herzog immigrated to Israel from Brazil in 1992, where she was considered the country’s “most prominent violist.”
As a violist, she has performed around the world, including with the Israel Philharmonic, according to the ensemble’s website.