Teatro alla Scala Defends Russian Artists, Condemns Valery Gergiev

By Francisco Salazar

The Teatro alla Scala is defending its choice of Russian repertoire and its administration’s decision to contract numerous Russian artists.

In a press conference during the announcement of the 2022-23 season, General Director Dominique Meyer made it clear that Valery Gergiev would not be conducting at the Teatro alla Scala due to his position as a General Director and Artistic Director of the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg.

He noted, “We considered him like a politician. The others, no. He is almost a culture minister. It is another case.’’

The season will open with “Boris Godunov,” which the La Scala program calls “a disturbing fresco on the brutality and solitude of power.” Regarding the opening Night Music Director Riccardo Chailly said, “It would be serious to penalize the artistic aspect for the tragedy that we are all aware is happening in Ukraine. It seems to me necessary, in light of what we are living unfortunately for more than 90 days, (to say) that great music can live independently, as it should be. It is important to distinguish the two things. Give merit to those who deserve it and to bring back to life masterpieces completely independently of events.”

The season will include such artists as Anna Netrebko, who Meyer defended, adding, “I’m not for witch hunts.” Moreover, prior to her recital in May he noted that “I hope this evening is a sign for other houses to open their doors to Anna Netrebko. The opera audience today has shown what it wants.”

The season will also feature such artists as Ildar Abdrazakov, Dmitry Korchak, and Ekaterina Semenchuk, among others, all of whom have been performing at the Mariinsky Theatre and in Russia as ensemble members.