Bolshoi Theatre Cancels Two Productions From Directors who Criticized Russia

By Francisco Salazar

Russia’s Bolshoi Theatre has canceled two productions by directors who spoke out against the War in Ukraine.

According to the Guardian, the theater gave no explanation and caused a stir among opera goers.

The two productions that were dropped included  Timofey Kulyabin’s production of “Don Pasquale” and Kirill Serebrennikov’s ballet “Nureyev.” The productions will be replaced by Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville” and Aram Khachaturian’s ballet “Spartacus.”

The move comes as Serebrennikov, who fled Russia, has been openly critical of the Russian government and “said he was not surprised by the Bolshoi’s cancellation of ‘Nureyev,’ which is based on the life of the Russian ballet superstar Rudolf Nureyev, who defected to the west in 1961.” The work includes a tender scene with his gay lover that tests the Kremlin’s stance towards what it calls “homosexual propaganda.”

Kulyabin was also critical of the war and used his Instagram account to express solidarity with Ukraine.

Since the War in Ukraine began many Bolshoi Ballet dancers have quit while many opera singers including Olga Peretyatko, Yusif Eyvazov, and Maria Guleghina, have canceled engagements in Russia. Soprano Anna Netrebko, who also spoke out on the war and cut ties with Putin, was also called an enemy of the state by Russian politicians.

However, there are still several international artists who have continued to perform in Russia and receive awards. The Bolshoi Theatre recently performed “Spartacus” in early April donating proceeds to help the families of Russian troops who died in Ukraine.