UPDATE The Metropolitan Opera has announced that it will “no longer engage with artists or institutions that support Putin or are supported by him.”
The announcement, made on the Met’s website in a brief video statement by General Manager Peter Gelb, comes several days after another major New York cultural institution, Carnegie Hall, announced that Russian conductor Valery Gergiev and pianist Denis Matsuev, both longtime Putin supporters, would not participate in a performance of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra this past weekend.
In Gelb’s video statement, the general manager says, “While we believe strongly in the warm friendship and cultural exchange that has long existed between the artists and artistic institutions of Russia and the United States, we can no longer engage with artists or institutions that support Putin or are supported by him.” Gelb states that the new policy will remain in effect “until the invasion and killing has been stopped, order has been restored, and restitutions have been made.”
Previous, Feb. 25 Valery Gergiev, the Russian conductor and longtime supporter of Russian president Vladimir Putin, will not take the stage at Carnegie Hall with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra as planned this weekend, with a spokeswoman for the famed venue explaining that the change “was made due to recent world events.”
Whether the conductor withdrew from the program or was removed remains unclear. The Carnegie Hall website has posted a notice saying only, “Please note that Yannick Nézet-Séguin will conduct the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in place of Valery Gergiev. The program remains unchanged.” Nézet-Séguin is the music director of the Metropolitan Opera and the Philadelphia Orchestra.
According to The New York Times, pianist Denis Matsuev, another Putin supporter, also has been dropped from the Vienna Philharmonic’s performance tonight. A replacement has not been announced.
The Vienna Philharmonic is set for three Carnegie Hall performances this weekend, beginning tonight.
Gergiev has come under fire before for his political association with Putin. In 2014, he was among various Russian cultural leaders who signed an open letter supporting Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and in 2013 the LGBTQ activists Queer Nation interrupted performances of orchestras conducted by Gergiev at New York’s Metropolitan Opera and Carnegie Hall.
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