Riccardo Chailly Responds to Ukrainian Consul over Teatro alla Scala’s ‘Boris Godunov’

By Francisco Salazar

Music Director of the Teatro alla Scala Riccardo Chailly has responded to the Ukrainian Consul’s letter asking the Milan theater to cancel “Boris Godunov” as the company’s opening night.

Chailly said, “We are all with Ukraine waiting for the conflict to end, but politics and its consequences cannot be coercive for culture.”

The conductor responded to the letter that Ukrainian consul Milan Adrii Kartysh wrote to the superintendent of La Scala Dominique Meyer, the mayor Giuseppe Sala and the president of the Region Attilio Fontana.

Chailly also told Corriere della Sera, “A month after the start of the war with one hundred musicians and an international cast we took the stage to express the participation of the theater in defense of Ukraine. On April 4, we directed the ‘Stabat Mater’ by Rossini and that was the Milanese cry of pain against the war. An evening without fees and with the funds raised (380 thousand euros) in favor of Ukrainian refugees. Cutting a masterpiece that ends with madness and the death of the Tsar, is penalizing culture. The idea is to link ‘Macbeth’ with ‘Boris,’ linking them to the abuse of power that consumes and leads to madness. Do we want to abolish Shakespeare? In January we will perform Tchaikovsky, then a concert for the 70th anniversary of the death of Prokofiev, a Ukrainian genius. There is a lack of objectivity with respect to art. Art must not pay for the havoc of what has been happening since February 24th.”

Earlier this week the Ukrainian consul wrote a letter that said, “Don’t open with ‘Boris Godunov'” and added that Putin’s Russia was “using culture to lend weight to its assertions of greatness and power.” It is also the latest protest against the Teatro alla Scala’s decision to open with “Boris Godunov” and to continue hiring Russian artists.