Milan’s La Scala is far from “making propaganda” for Vladimir Putin as it opens its season with Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky’s opera Boris Godunov, its director Dominique Meyer, who has been criticized for scheduling the project amid the war in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian consul in Milan, Andrii Kartis, unsuccessfully asked the prestigious theater to “revise” its programming for the traditional “Prima”, the opening of performances, on December 7, considering that there is a risk of showing “propaganda elements” in favor of of the Russian president.
“We’re not defending anyone and certainly not Putin, that’s ridiculous,” Meyer told AFP on the sidelines of a presentation of Mussorgsky’s (1839-1881) opera based on Alexander Pushkin’s epic drama of the same name and about his life Russian Tsar Boris Godunov.
Curtis “made a mistake by attacking friends. We have given proof of our friendship, we have organized a big concert in favor of the victims of the war in Ukraine, raising 400,000 euros,” Meyer recalled. The Skala “also welcomed children from the Kyiv dance school and gave shelter to their parents,” he added.
“We are presenting an opera that is an important work in the history of art, and those who doubt this plan should perhaps start by reading the libretto,” he continued. He also recalled that the idea of staging the Russian opera began three years ago, long before the war in Ukraine broke out.
“They will see that dictators do not get away so easily” in this opera which is “a parable about dictatorship”, he explained.
As for criticism of Russian artists performing at La Scala, Meyer said baritone Ildar Abdrazakov (who will play Boris Godunov) and Anna Netrebko, who will give a recital in March, “are artists, not politicians faces”. By contrast, Valery Gergiev, the famous conductor and close friend of Vladimir Putin, “is a great artist as well as a political figure,” he commented.
In early March, Milan’s La Scala suspended Gergiev from conducting a Tchaikovsky opera because he refused to distance himself from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Source: RES – BEE
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