Ukraine-Russia War, Kyiv & UN News: Live Updates


A day after being fired from concerts at Carnegie Hall, star Russian maestro Valery Gergiev faced growing anger on Friday over his record of supporting Russian President Vladimir V. Putin, along with several prominent European institutions – including the ‘Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, of which Mr Gergiev is conductor – threatening to sever ties with him unless he speaks out against Mr Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

The fallout, spanning Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, was a rare rebuke from a titan of the classical music industry, and it reflected growing global outrage over the ongoing military offensive. of Mr. Putin in Ukraine.

Mr. Gergiev, 68, one of Russia’s most prominent cultural ambassadors, is now shunned because of his ties to Mr. Putin, his longtime friend and benefactor. He seems in danger of losing several key positions, including the podium in Munich and his position as honorary conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.

Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter issued an ultimatum on Friday, saying Mr Gergiev must speak out against Putin’s ‘brutal war of aggression against Ukraine’ by Monday or be fired by the orchestra, three years before the expiration of his contract.

The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra issued a similar warning, threatening to cancel its “Gergiev Festival”, scheduled for September. Milan’s Teatro alla Scala said Mr Gergiev would be barred from upcoming performances of Tchaikovsky’s ‘Queen of Spades’ and other engagements if he did not immediately call for peace.

And after Carnegie Hall and the Vienna Philharmonic announced on Thursday that Mr. Gergiev would no longer lead the orchestra in three high-profile concerts from Friday evening, Carnegie on Friday canceled two Mariinsky Orchestra concerts in May which were to be led by Mr. Gergiev.

Mr. Gergiev did not respond to requests for comment from The New York Times.

The uproar was a blow to a conductor who has built a storied international career while maintaining deep ties to the Russian state, including in his role as general and artistic director of the Mariinsky Theater in St Petersburg.

Mr. Putin played a vital role in Mr. Gergiev’s success, funding his theater and showering it with awards. Mr Gergiev has become a prominent supporter of Mr Putin, endorsing his re-election and performing at concerts in Russia and abroad to promote his policies. The two have known each other since the early 1990s, when Mr. Putin was a civil servant in St. Petersburg and Mr. Gergiev began his tenure as head of the Mariinsky, then called the Kirov.

Western cultural institutions have largely looked beyond Mr Gergiev’s ties to Mr Putin, even as the conductor has become the target of repeated protests over the past decade, at Carnegie, the Metropolitan Opera and elsewhere.

Mr Putin’s invasion of Ukraine this week has put renewed pressure on arts leaders to reconsider their ties to Mr Gergiev. After a hastily arranged meeting on Thursday morning, Carnegie Hall and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra announced that the orchestra would continue without him. Russian pianist Denis Matsuev, who was due to perform with Mr Gergiev and the Philharmonie on Friday, and who has expressed support for Mr Putin’s policies in the past, was also removed from the programme.

Clive Gillinson, executive and artistic director of Carnegie, who has said in the past that Mr. Gergiev should not be punished for his political views, said in an interview on Friday that he and the Philharmonic had come to the conclusion that c It was “untenable” for Mr Gergiev and Mr Matsuev to perform because of their ties to Mr Putin.

“We all felt that this situation changed the world, unfortunately,” he said, referring to the invasion of Ukraine.

Mr. Gergiev and Mr. Matsuev were also barred from concerts next week in Naples, Florida, with the Philharmonic Orchestra, whose president said as recently as Sunday that Mr. Gergiev was a gifted artist and would step onto the podium for Carnegie dates.

“He goes there as a performer, not as a politician,” Daniel Froschauer, the orchestra’s president, said in an interview with The Times at the time.

The Philharmonic Orchestra released a statement on Friday saying it opposes “all forms of aggression and war”. He was not referring to Mr. Gergiev or Mr. Matsuev.

The attack on Ukraine prompted Anna Netrebko, the Russian soprano who is one of opera’s biggest stars, to cancel a performance she was scheduled to give Friday night in Denmark with her husband, tenor Yusif Eyvazov .


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