Are you too close to Putin? Institutions Vet Artists, Disturbed.


In Canada, the concert of a famous 20-year-old Russian pianist was canceled amid concerns over his silence over the invasion of Ukraine. The musical director of an orchestra in Toulouse, France, who is also the chief conductor of the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, has been instructed to clarify his stance on the war before taking the next stage. Anna Netrebko, one of the biggest stars of opera, in New York Metropolitan Opera end reign After refusing to condemn Russian President Vladimir V. Putin.

As global condemnation of Russia’s attack on Ukraine grew, cultural institutions with surprising speed began to pressure Russian artists to distance themselves from Mr. should control the views of the artists.

Institutions demand that artists who have supported Putin in the past openly condemn the Russian president and the occupation as a prerequisite for performing. Others check their lineups and scrutinize their social media posts to make sure Russian artists aren’t making controversial statements about the war. The Polish National Opera went so far as to drop a production of Mussorgsky’s “Boris Godunov”, one of the greatest Russian operas, to express “solidarity with the Ukrainian people”.

Tensions pose a dilemma for cultural institutions and their supporters. Many have long sought to stay out of current events and have a deep belief in the role that art can play in closing divisions. Now, arts managers with insufficient geopolitical expertise find themselves in the midst of one of the most political problems of recent decades and benefit from little experience.

“We are facing a completely new situation,” said Andreas Homoki, artistic director of the Zurich Opera. “Politics has never been on our minds before.”

The new review of Russian artists threatens to upset decades of cultural exchange that continued even in the depths of the Cold War, when the Soviet Union and the West sent artists back and forth amid fears of nuclear war. Long close to Mr Putin, Russian maestro Valery Gergiev was sacked as chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic and saw his international engagements dry up. Hermitage Amsterdam, an art museum, severed ties with the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. The Bolshoi Ballet lost their engagement in London and Madrid.

Referring to this Cold War tradition, Cliburn – a Fort Worth foundation named after the American pianist Van Cliburn, whose victory in the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1958 was seen as a sign that art can transcend political differences – announced that it would welcome it. The 15 Russian-born pianists who will audition next week for the 2022 Cliburn Competition stated that they are not their government’s authority.

Jacques Marquis, Cliburn’s president and CEO, said he thinks it’s important to speak up as the organization watches Russian artists come under scrutiny. “By staying grounded, we can help the world by focusing on music and artists.”

While many institutions are willing to show support for Ukraine and move away from artists embracing Putin, they are uncomfortable trying to scrutinize artists’ views – and they worry that Russian artists, who often have to rely on the support of Russian artists, are worried. For their careers to thrive at home, the state may face retaliation if it has to overtly reject the Kremlin.

“Now you can’t put everyone under general suspicion,” said Alexander Neef, director of the Paris Opera. “You cannot demand condemnation or declarations of allegiance to what happened.

The situation is tense and moving fast. Organizations’ leaders are facing waves of anger on social media, where campaigns to cancel many Russian artists are gaining traction, as well as pressure from donors, board members and viewers.

Institutions are also grappling with what to do about the Russians, who are among their most important donors. On Wednesday, the Guggenheim Museum hosted Vladimir O. Potanin, one of Russia’s richest men and a great philanthropist. resigned as one of his trustees.

Leila Getz, the founder and artistic director of a recital series held in Vancouver, Canada, canceled a concert planned for August by Russian pianist Alexander Malofeev. Mr. Malofeev, 20, has not made any statements about the war and has no known ties to Mr. Putin. But Miss Getz is a expression He said he “could not present a concert of any Russian artist with a clear conscience at this time, unless they are ready to speak out in public against this war.”

Before long, he received dozens of messages. Some accused him of overstepping his line and asked that Mr. Malofeev be allowed to perform.

In an interview, Ms Getz defended her decision, saying she was worried about the potential for protest. She said she didn’t want Mr. Malofeev to denounce the war and was concerned for her safety.

“The first thing that comes to my mind is, why would I want to bring a 20-year-old Russian pianist to Vancouver and face the protests and people misbehaving and shouting and shouting and shouting in the concert hall?” it happened. she said.

Mr Malofeev declined to comment. Inside expression “The truth is that every Russian for decades will feel guilty for the terrible and bloody decision that none of us could influence or foresee,” he said in a Facebook post.

The Annapolis Symphony in Maryland on Friday announced that it will replace Russian violinist Vadim Repin, who is scheduled to play a Shostakovich concerto at upcoming concerts. ”

“We don’t want to put him in an uncomfortable or even impossible situation,” Edgar Herrera, the orchestra’s executive director, said in a statement. In an interview, Mr. Herrera said there were threats to spoil Mr Repin’s performances and said he was concerned that hosting the symphony could damage his image and alienate donors.

It is not easy to decide which artists are very close to Mr. Putin. st. A longtime general and artistic director of the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Mr. Gergiev has a decades-long relationship with Mr. Putin and has often supported government policies. Mr. Gergiev gave concerts in South Ossetia in 2008, a separatist region of Georgia With the help of Russian soldiersand in Syria’s Palmyra region in 2016 Recaptured by Syrian and Russian forces.

Star soprano Ms. Netrebko made a statement opposing the war in Ukraine, but withdrew from the performance after refusing to distance herself from Mr Putin, whom she had expressed support for in the past. Savaş once again drew attention to a photograph taken in 2014. Holding a flag used by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine.

Famous pianist Evgeny Kissin, who was born in Moscow and now lives in Prague, said that many artists in Russia should support Putin to some degree as their institutions rely on state aid, but others go too far. He said he believed “supporters of a murderous war waged by a dictator and a mass murderer should have no place on the concert stages of the civilized world.”

He added that while it was natural for Western institutions to ask Mr. Putin’s most prominent supporters to raise their voices against the war, he did not think that this should be required in the past, especially from non-political artists.

Arts organizations offered a few details on how they would handle less prominent Russian artists who were more private about their political views. The Verbier Festival in Switzerland said it would ban artists who “overtly align with the actions of the Russian government”, but would not elaborate on how those decisions would be made.

Mr. Homoki, who runs the opera house in Zurich, said he would not want Russian artists to condemn Moscow, given the pressures they may face in their own country. But he said artists may have to consider canceling their performances if they face overwhelming public opposition or if colleagues express concerns about their political views.

“You can’t expose this to artists just because they’re Russian, or they can’t really take a strong anti-Putin position because they’re afraid of the consequences,” Mr. Homoki said.

There are also concerns that the current climate may open the door to requests from artists from other countries, including China, to denounce violations by their own governments – even putting them at risk.

Metropolitan Opera announced He stated that he will no longer liaise with artists and institutions that have expressed his support for Putin, but that his efforts so far have mostly focused on Ms. Netrebko and the Bolshoi, where she is a producer partnership. The Met’s managing director, Peter Gelb, said the opera house has no plans to “conduct an artistic witch hunt” or question the performers about their views, and that several Russian artists are currently rehearsing Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene,” a beloved Russian piece at the Met. He said he was doing it. Onegin.”

At Carnegie Hall on Thursday evening, Clive Gillinson, the hall’s manager and artistic director, took the stage to greet Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov and announced that Carnegie would not discriminate against artists on the basis of nationality.

The hall made headlines last week when Mr Gergiev and Russian pianist Denis Matsuev, who also has ties to Mr Putin, canceled their concerts.

Mr Gillinson He had defended his plans to bring Mr. Gergiev forward. In an interview this season last year, he asked, “Why should artists be the only people in the world who aren’t allowed to hold political views?” he was asking. On Friday, Mr. Gillinson said Mr. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine had changed things and he did not believe that artists who continued to support Mr. Putin should be given a forum to perform.

But he added that organizations should avoid penalizing artists who are reluctant to voice their views.

“When people live in a totalitarian state, which they do, it’s asking the impossible because you’re asking someone to risk their life,” he said.

Experts warn that pressure to take a hard line against Russian artists risks ending decades of cultural exchange.

“The more we hostile, the more we cut off, the more we ban, the more we censor, and the more we have this xenophobic backlash, the more we fall into Putin’s hands,” said music professor Simon A. Morrison. Princeton studying Russia. “We make both sides into a vulgar caricature.”



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