Italy’s La Scala will open new season with Russian opera

Italy’s La Scala will open its 2022-23 season with a performance of “Boris Godunov”, a Russian-composed opera performed by Russian artists, with no plans for a cultural boycott despite the invasion of Ukraine.

“I’m not for a witch hunt nor for the cancellation of Russian works,” Dominique Meyer, artistic director of the theatre, told reporters. “I do not hide while reading [Russian writer Alexander] Puskin.”

The original choice of the opera was made a few years ago, he added.

Written by Modest Mussorgsky, Russian bass and soprano Ildar Abdrazakov and Anna Denisova will play the main roles in “Boris Godunov”. The start of the new season at La Scala in early December is one of the highlights of the Italian cultural calendar.

Immediately after the invasion of Ukraine in February, the Milan-based theatre said Russian conductor Valery Gergiev would not perform at La Scala after he failed to condemn the war.

Responding to journalists asking what the difference was compared with the Gergiev issue, Meyer said La Scala regarded the Russian conductor almost as a politician.

“He is a sort of Russian Minister of Culture. Other artists are in a different position: they receive prizes and awards but that does not make them war supporters,” he added.

La Scala will perform over 200 shows in the 2022-23 season which will start on December 7.

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