Tonhalle Orchestra Cancels ‘Alexander Nevsky’

By Francisco Salazar

The Tonhalle Orchestra in Zurich has canceled Prokofiev’s “Alexander Nevsky” in January following protests from the choir.

In a statement, the orchestra said, “we would have wanted to perform Sergei Prokofiev’s cantata ‘Alexander Nevsky’ in this concert. It is a sensitive work in the current war situation because it tells of a historical war and Vladimir Putin is currently using it for propaganda purposes. We still wanted to play it as an impressive and highly topical document of the time, albeit in an adapted form. Unfortunately, that is not possible after all. In the course of preparations for the concerts, it became apparent that the singers of the Zürcher Singakademie were so uneasy about the work that we had to discontinue ‘Alexander Newski’ entirely.”

The statement added, “instead, we will play ‘The Eternal Stranger’ by the Israeli composer Ella Milch-Sheriff: a touching monodrama that premiered in 2020 and deals with another topical issue, the fate of refugees.”

The concert will also include Prokofiev’s Piano Concert No. 3, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, and the Leonore Overture. Omer Meir Wellber Conducts the evening with soloist Daniel Ciobanu.