National Opera in Ljubljana Forbids Use of Ukrainian Flag in ‘Faust’ Production

By Francisco Salazar

Slovenia’s National Opera in Ljubljana banned the use of the Ukrainian flag in a recent production of “Faust.”

Belgian director Frank Van Laecke went public on Thursday, March 17, 2022 and expressed his discontent noting that the opera house forbade him to display little Ukrainian flags in his “Faust” production.

After the premiere, the director took the stage to thank the team involved in the production and said “Faust” could well be his last production at the opera house.

He said, “In the fourth act I wanted little yellow and blue flags behind the window in the set instead of the blue, white, and red flags from my previous Faust production […] However, the opera director, Mr. Staš Ravter forbade me to use those colors.”

Van Laecke added that Ravter said he would “never set foot in his opera house” again if he was to talk to reporters about the ban. The director received thunderous applause and a standing ovation following his remarks.

The director then went on to write a statement that said he would never agree to censorship or extortion when it came to freedom of speech.

In a written response, the opera’s leadership said Van Laecke used his applause after Thursday’s premiere “in light of topical political situation [to express] his view of arts. The management is unanimous in its position that the political situation should not affect the original appearance of the production – the director used blue-white-red flags in the original form of the performance – and that the SNG Opera and Ballet Ljubljana will continue to remain an apolitical institution, as political themes should not exploit art today or in the future.”

The company concluded its statement by adding that it supported Ukrainian artists and Ukrainian people.