Valery Gergiev and Anna Netrebko under pressure

Munich and Milan give Putin’s protégé Gergiev ultimatums: the conductor should position himself clearly against the Russian war of aggression. The star soprano Anna Netrebko has also been criticized for taking sides with Putin’s policies. Meanwhile, other Russian artists are clearly opposed to the war.

Conductor Valery Gergiev after a 2013 veteran concert at St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theater, which he has directed since 1996.

Dmitry Lovetsky / AP

Because of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the conductor Valery Gergiev is under pressure to justify his performances in many places in the West. Known as a friend, supporter and protégé of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Gergiev has conspicuously avoided publicly distancing himself from his policies. In 2014 he even welcomed the illegal annexation of Crimea. The conductor has also long been criticized for his indifferent attitude towards Putin’s anti-homosexual legislation, especially in Munich. Here Gergiev holds the position of chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic, in addition to many other international commitments.

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