Developments of Concern Related to U.S./NATO War Hysteria
Persecution of Russian Artists Is Unacceptable
A matter of great concern is the persecution of Russian artists as a result of the U.S./NATO war hysteria which has become official ideology within the NATO member countries including Canada. The definition of persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group by another individual or group. In this regard, there is currently a concerted offensive by cultural institutions in NATO member countries to fire or boycott prominent Russian artists. In some cases it is because they refuse to take a political position of their liking on events in Ukraine or simply because hysteria has been fomented against anything Russian.
The Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra has pulled the 1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky from a concert on March 18. It is “inappropriate” to perform work by a Russian composer during “the ongoing invasion of Ukraine,” those responsible said. Tchaikovsky, arguably one of the most famous of the world-renowned Russian composers, lived between 1840 and 1893. The 1812 Overture was written in celebration of Russia’s fight-back against Napoleon’s invasion and is famous for including a volley of cannon fire, a spokesperson said in the guise of an explanation.
One of the most famous cases of persecution is that of Valery Gergiev, perhaps the most prominent and famous conductor of the moment. He was, until recently, principal conductor of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra and was fired, three years before the end of his contract, because he did not respond to the mayor of Munich demanding that Gergiev “clearly and categorically distance himself” from the Russian military operation in Ukraine. The mayor gave the conductor 4 days to respond to his dictate.
“Munich is parting ways with principal conductor Valery Gergiev. There will be no more concerts of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra under his direction from now on,” wrote Mayor Dieter Reiter in a statement on March 1. “I would have expected him to reconsider and revise his very positive assessment of the Russian leader. He did not do so. In the current situation, however, it would have been essential to send a clear signal to the orchestra, its audience, the public and the city’s policy in order to be able to continue working together. Since this did not happen, all that remains is an immediate separation,” he said.
Since his dismissal from the Munich orchestra, Valery Gergiev’s appearance at New York’s Carnegie Hall has been cancelled. The Paris Philharmonic and Prague’s Dvorak Festival have also cancelled his upcoming concerts, while the Verbier Festival, held each summer in Switzerland, has asked for his resignation as Music Director of the Verbier Festival Orchestra.
The media reported that Gergiev has known Putin since the early 1990s, has supported him on several occasions and this is enough to make him persona non grata.
Another case is that of the Russian soprano Anna Netrebko, one of the most renowned opera artists, a star of the Metropolitan Opera in New York. She did not respond in a compliant manner to the Met’s request to denounce Russia. In fact, she wrote the following text on her social networks:
“I took time to think about this because I think the situation is too serious to comment on it without really thinking about it. First of all, I am opposed to this war. I am Russian and I love my country, but I have many friends in Ukraine and the current pain and suffering breaks my heart. I want this war to end and for people to live in peace. That is what I hope and pray for. It is not fair to force artists, or any other personality, to express their political opinions in public and denounce their homeland. It should be a free choice. Like many of my colleagues, I am not a political person. I am not a political expert. I am an artist and my goal is to unite people across political lines.”
On March 3, the Met’s management issued the following statement:
“Not complying with the Met’s condition that she repudiate her public support for Vladimir Putin while he wages war on Ukraine, soprano Anna Netrebko has withdrawn from her upcoming Met performances in Puccini’s Turandot this April and May, as well as the run of Verdi’s Don Carlo next season. ‘It is a great artistic loss for the Met and for opera’ wrote the Met General Manager Peter Gelb. Anna is one of the greatest singers in Met history, but with Putin killing innocent victims in Ukraine, there was no way forward,” he writes.
Since then, the soprano has decided to cancel all her performances until further notice. She is accused of having posed in 2015 in Donetsk with the flag of the forces fighting for their independence from Ukraine. She is also accused of having met Putin on a number of occasions.
Another example is that of the young Russian pianist Alexander Malofeev, whose concerts scheduled for March 9, 10 and 13 were cancelled by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.
“The OSM feels that it would be inappropriate to receive Mr. Malofeev this week. We continue, however, to believe in the importance of maintaining relationships with artists of all nationalities who embrace messages of peace and hope. We look forward to welcoming this exceptional artist when the context allows it,” the orchestra wrote in a statement.
The Montreal Symphony Orchestra followed the lead of the Vancouver Recital Society, which has also cancelled the young pianist’s concert scheduled for August 2 at the Orpheum Theatre.
In his case, no link to Putin was even mentioned. The simple fact that he is Russian is invoked to justify the cancellation of his concerts.
The pianist wrote this comment on his Facebook page:
“Honestly, the only thing I can do right now is pray and cry. It would seem that there are obvious conclusions: no problem can be solved in war, people cannot be judged by their nationality.”
Artists play a crucial role in building friendship among the peoples. Bans and other attacks on artists by governing institutions humiliate not just outstanding performers themselves by putting them in a position where they are supposed to apologize for their being. They also humiliate all those who have no power to stand up in their defence.
Shame on those persecuting artists on the basis of their nationality or personal beliefs.
(TML Daily, posted March 16, 2022)