Putin will be furious: why no state opera will touch this work

Putin will be furious: why no state opera will touch this work


norman lebrecht

April 30, 2019

Yesterday’s announcement of a new opera on the state-ordered murder of Alexander Litvinenko came from Grange Park Opera, one of a cluster of countryhouse startups that enliven the long evenings of the British summer.

It is self-evident that no state-funded opera would put on such an opera. Neither Covent Garden, nor ENO, nor any institution that is dependent on public funds would include such a delicate subject in its schedules without clearing it with the Government. And the reply they would get would be, don’t touch it.

The same goes for state operas and festivals in Europe. Salzburg would run for the hills before making a political provocation. Berlin? Forget it.

It takes a spunky English summer festival to do what the dinosaurs would never dare. We’re guessing that Wasfi Kani and her Grange Park crew will have their tea-bags tested for polonium, or whatever other poisons are being used these days by Putin’s licensed killers.

We applaud their initiative, and their courage.

Go, Grange Park.


Putin loves opera. He will hate this.


  • Will Duffay says:

    Just wait: the Kremlin keyboard warriors will be along pretty soon to put you right.

  • C Porumbescu says:

    Hmmm – yeah, so courageous. “So, privately-run Surrey stockbroker-belt summer opera company….what attracted you to the music of millionaire former City investment fund manager Anthony Bolton?”

    And to think of the kicking you gave WNO for putting on a tiny one-acter by a Getty…

    • norman lebrecht says:

      I was not aware of Mr Bolton’s financial track record. Be that as it may, the risk management factor here is at a very high level.

      • Saxon Broken says:

        Er…no it isn’t. The investment is just the cost of the production, and he has probably written the money off before the piece is even performed. Likely, he can claim the loss against his tax liability.

  • Violone says:

    Grange Park has th0artistic stznding of a Punch & *udy show – an excurse for a spiffing oicnic for Young Conservativrs disinclined to cogugh upfpr Glyndrbiurne, but who wag.

    It provides pseudo-employment for prefects from Public Schools, so Mumsy & Dadsy sn say their lottlr angel ‘works in an opera house’.

    Putin furiosl? Nirman is having a laugh, No-one in Russia has ever heard of this finishing school fot Junior Fauntleroys. Restaging threir amateur panto? I should coco?

    M’learned friends will step in to prevent a note of this maudkin dross seeing the light of day,