Russian Valery Gergiev will not conduct Milan’s La Scala orchestra this week after failing to condemn the invasion of Ukraine, the city’s mayor announced on Monday. Gergiev, general director of the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg and considered close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, conducted “The Queen of Spades”, an opera based on the novel by Alexander Pushkin at La Scala on February 23.
The show will last until March 15 and the next performance will be on Saturday. “I don’t think he will be there, I think at this stage we can rule him out,” Giuseppe Sala, chairman of the board of La Scala theater and mayor of Milan, told reporters on Monday.
“The Maestro did not answer us,” he added. Mayor Sala and La Scala artistic director Dominique Meyer had urged Gergiev last week to condemn the invasion of Ukraine or not be allowed to perform in the show again.
Gergiev was also scheduled to conduct three concerts at New York’s Carnegie Hall leading the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra from February 25-27. But the Russian conductor was replaced by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, according to the theater’s website, which did not give reasons for this decision.
The Mariinsky Theater did not respond to a Reuters request for comment. Gergiev, 68, born in Moscow, performed in the most famous theaters in the world. In 2013, Putin awarded him the first title of Hero of Labor of Russia.
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