The Wiener Staatsoper has released a statement about the War in Ukraine and noted that it will not fire Russian artists due to the war and will use music as a way of bridging cultures.
The company stated, “As an international opera and ballet house, we are happy and proud to unite artists from the most diverse nations on our stage – including Ukraine and Russia – who live their passion, love, and devotion to music, song, and dance in peaceful coexistence every evening across political, linguistic, national, cultural or religious differences and share their enthusiasm with the audience. Many of them have been at home in Vienna for many years and are an important part of Europe. With their work they set a strong sign for peace, international understanding and bridge building between cultures.”
The company added, “Russia’s brutal war of aggression on Ukraine leaves us stunned day after day and we condemn it in the strongest terms. Our full solidarity goes to Ukraine and our thoughts are with all people who are currently experiencing immeasurable suffering, including families and friends of our ensemble members, staff or our guests. However, in the last few days we have received more and more demands not to allow the Russian members of the ensemble, the Vienna State Ballet as well as Russian guests to perform. We strictly reject these demands for separation as well as a world view that classifies people as “good” or “bad” only on the basis of their origin. Current developments must not lead to the exclusion of individuals from cultural creation solely on the basis of their nationality.
Some comments are directed explicitly and in a hurtful way against artists of our institution. We reserve the right to delete these comments.”
The statement comes weeks after many institutions have canceled contracts with Russian artists due to their affiliations with Putin or for simply being Russian. Companies that have cut ties with Russian artists include the Metropolitan Opera, the Berlin State Opera, the Bayerische Staatsoper, and the Montreal Symphony, among others.