Russian conductor Valery Gergiev shunned by La Scala, other venues

New DelhiUpdated: Mar 01, 2022, 09:19 AM IST
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Photograph:(The New York Times)

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Russian Valery Gergiev will not conduct at Milan's La Scala this week after he failed to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine

Russian Valery Gergiev will not conduct at Milan's La Scala this week after he failed to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and he is also set to be sidelined from roles in Munich and Rotterdam.

Gergiev - general director of the St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theatre and regarded as close to Russian President Vladimir Putin - conducted 'The Queen of Spades', an opera based on Alexander Pushkin`s novel, at La Scala on Feb. 23.

The show will run until March 15 and the next performance is scheduled for Saturday.

"I don't think he will be there, I think at this point we can rule it out," Giuseppe Sala, La Scala theatre board chairman and mayor of Milan, told reporters on Monday.

"The maestro did not reply to us," he added, referring to requests for Gergiev to comment on the Ukraine crisis.
The Mariinsky Theatre did not respond to a request for comment.

The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra also said it was suspending its work with Gergiev, who is an honorary conductor in the Dutch city, and would cancel a Gergiev Festival planned for September unless he distances himself from Putin's actions.

Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter last week gave Gergiev a deadline of Monday to speak out or be removed as principal conductor of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Moscow-born Gergiev, 68, has performed in the most famous theatres around the world. In 2013, Putin awarded him the first title of Hero of Labour of Russia.

But those ties have rebounded on him as Western nations react to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the biggest assault on a European nation since World War Two.

Gergiev had been due to conduct three concerts at New York's Carnegie Hall leading the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra from Feb. 25-27.

But the Russian conductor has been replaced by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, according to the theatre's website.

Separately, the Venice La Biennale art exhibition said the curator and artists of the Pavilion of the Russian Federation had pulled out of the event in protest at the war in Ukraine.

"La Biennale expresses its complete solidarity for this noble act of courage," it said in a statement.