UK refuses visa to Glyndebourne’s Traviata star

UK refuses visa to Glyndebourne’s Traviata star


norman lebrecht

April 07, 2017

The baritone Igor Golovatenko has told a Russian website that he has twice been refused a visa at the British consulate for this summer’s Glyndebourne Festival.

Golovatenko, who took Glyndebourne by storm in a Donizetti role in 2015, is due to sing Germont in La Traviata. Rehearsals start on April 14.

Someone needs to phone Theresa May. Fast.

UPDATE: Now the Philharmonia loses soloist due to UK visa issues.

photo (c) Tristram Kenton/Glyndebourne


  • Paul MacAlindin says:

    “Someone needs to phone Theresa May. Fast.” Really? Who is under the illusion that they care, and that major opera houses, despite all their influential backers, are capable of changing the current game?

  • Alexander says:

    Charles 🙂 P.S. as far as I could hear Mr. Golovatenko is a very good singer – period

  • Richard Slack says:

    He is not an EU citizen and the UK has not left the EU yet so I don’t think this is something to blame Brexit for, or to all on Teresa May to deal with. I suspect his agent didn’t get the paperwork right and is trying to shift the blame

  • John Warburton says:

    In my own immigration fun, I’ve seen that, occasionally, a phone call to what might appear to be a first-line caseworker (if, and only if, you have their name and office location) can produce results. Refusing Glyndebourne a musician of considerable standing (who has no wish to vanish from his family and friends at home) is, of course, a bonkers decision. Circumstances were different, but we didn’t refuse Ashkenazy, did we?

    • Laura says:

      He’s from outside the EU, so nothing would have officially changed.
      It may be symptomatic of a more hard line approach to work permit applications in general – or maybe not, we don’t know. I know Switzerland have become much less compliant about short term work permits for younger EU workers, but cannot speak for the UK.

  • Alexander says:

    … it’s such a pity, Norman, you don’t know Russian. This country is a real 1000-year culture treasure chest. There are plenty of amazing voices ( not to speak of musicians and conductors) there, mostly youngsters and those who are under their 40s. I think many “Callas widows”, I am speaking now in the most lofty meaning of that neo-idiom, would be over the Moon to know almost all of those are of huge and big voices. The voices that can fill the biggest operatic halls in till the upper balconies and of immense beauty. Mr. Golovatenko is only “one of many…” … Russia could ( somehow, who knows) save all its musical educational system and create a few new top-ranking establishments in that field, so it is undoubtedly that new Shalyapins and Callases are to be present onstage very soon ( some of them have already burst with their talents almost unknown for Western operagoers, alas). ..that’ all very briefly 🙂

    • Ungeheuer says:

      Memories of those overhyped (and dirt cheap) Naxos recordings from the 1990s and 2000s with Slavic casts, conductors and orchestras that no one could remember today if they tried, with good reason. So much for the resuscitation of the saintly Maria Callas. Still waiting for a miracle.

  • Byron Jackson says:

    Well use British singers there are plenty out there!!

    • Mike L says:

      Opera is, and always has been, an international affair. As, of course, is modern sport and all other branches of culture and entertainment.

  • Stefanie says:

    Why? Are there no suitable baritones in this country?! Seriously…

    • Opera fan says:

      If you want world-class art you need the best artists in the world – not just the best in Britain.