Elena Stikhina to Perform under Pro-Putin Supporter Valery Gergiev

By Francisco Salazar

Russian soprano Elena Stikhina is set to perform at the Pro-Putin Mariinsky Theatre.

The soprano is set to perform on March 7 in a production of “Aida” with Ekaterina Semenchuk and then on March 9, she will perform Wagner’s “Lohengrin” under Putin supporter Valery Gergiev. The performance of “Lohengrin” takes place a few days before she is set to take the stage at the Metropolitan Opera.

Stikhina was set to perform in Russia earlier in 2022 but canceled the performance. She has since performed at the Opernhaus Zürich, Royal Opera House, and Paris Opera.

During the war in Ukraine, the Mariinsky Theatre has fired numerous artists for speaking out against Putin’s actions. The company is also state funded by Putin and is led by Gergiev, who is a fierce advocate of the dictator’s policies. At the beginning of 2022, Gergiev was fired from all his engagements in the west for his ties to Putin.

In a recent interview, Met Opera General Director Peter Gelb said that the Met had “stopped working with [Gergiev]” not because of his political beliefs but artistically because he was more interested in working with projects in Russia and they came to the conclusion that he wasn’t right for the Met before the invasion. However, Gergiev did conduct a new production of “Der Fliegende Hollander” at the Met in 2020 right before the pandemic and was met with protests. He had been protested on several occasion at the Met most famously in 2013 when Putin signed the anti-gay law and in 2015 after the annexation of Crimea.