Milan’s La Scala to launch new season with Russian-composed opera

Italy’s famous La Scala opera house will launch the new season with the Russian-composed opera “Boris Godunov,” which features Russian artists in its cast, indicating no sign of a future cultural boycott related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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

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

People attend the reopening of La Scala opera house after it was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, in Milan, Italy, May 10, 2021. (Reuters Photo)

Immediately after the invasion of Ukraine in February, the Milan-based theater 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 Dec. 7.

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