Bolshoi Theatre Fires Another Director for Speaking Out Against the War

By Francisco Salazar

The Bolshoi Theatre has fired Russian director Alexander Molochnikov.

The 30-year-old director who was set to direct productions of Rachmaninov’s “Francesca da Rimini” and Zemlinsky’s “Florentine Tragedy,” was let go due to his opposition to the war in Ukraine.

According to a recent article in AFP, several fiercely pro-Kremlin figures, including Sergei Mironov and Zakhar Prilepin, co-chairmen of the political party A Just Russia, have launched “what they dubbed a fight against the ‘anti-state position’ of Russia’s cultural elites.”

According to Gogol Center playwright Valery Pecheikin, “Authorities no longer want provocative art. They’d rather prefer quiet, reliable, even boring art.”

It is not the first time that the Bolshoi has fired a director from its roster. Back in May, Timofey Kulyabin and Kirill Serebrennikov’s productions were canceled due to speaking out against the war while the State Opera and Ballet Theatre in Novosibirsk in Siberia canceled Anna Netrebko’s concerts and politicians called the famed soprano a traitor.

In March, Vladimir Putin called for the “self-purification” of society and said Russians will spit out “scum and traitors” who make money in Russia but prefer to live in the West. He also called for the unification of the Bolshoi Theatre and Mariinsky Theatre and asked Valery Gergiev, a fierce supporter of the dictator to lead the theaters.

Still, as many artists get fired for using their voices against the war, many prominent singers continue performing at these Putin-run institutions as well as at the Metropolitan Opera and Bayerische Staatsoper, where both General Directors have made clear they will not support Putin-supported artists.