Breaking: Covent Garden bans the Bolshoi

Breaking: Covent Garden bans the Bolshoi


norman lebrecht

February 25, 2022

From the ROH:

“A summer season of the Bolshoi Ballet at the Royal Opera House had been in the final stages of planning.  Unfortunately, under the current circumstances, the season cannot now go ahead.”


  • Michael says:

    I will miss seeing this great company but this is the right decision. I am writing to the ROH suggesting they indicate an appropriate charity to benefit Ukrainians where we can contribute money we’re saving by not seeing the Bolshoi this summer! And, sadly, probably not for many years if ever again.

  • V.Lind says:

    Quiet. Dignified. QUICK.

  • A.L. says:

    Good news

  • Anna Yu says:

    Such an idiotic action‍♀️

  • Gotohellwithyourpolitics says:

    This is what I was afraid when they started witch hunt with Gergiev. Who’s next? Netrebko? Or many other wonderful Russian artists ? This is absolute rusophobic behavior.

    • guest says:

      This isn’t a witch hunt. SD commenters would do themselves a favor to read serious news for change. The failed negotiations ended with an ultimatum, if Putin invades the Ukraine, there would be sanctions. What you call witch hunt are sanctions, from arts to economy. Bank assets freeze, airlines denied landing in UK, etc, etc, etc, rings a bell?

    • poyu says:

      It‘s more than that. If the conflict doesn‘t stop in a month and sanctions go ahead, then:
      1. Can they all travel here without hazzle, including heavy stuffs that go on land route?
      2. Can the profit being taken normally?
      3. Will tickets sell?

      Don‘t be misled by the title. ROH didn‘t “ban” them, ROH says it “cannot go ahead”. Which is true.

  • hmm says:

    Not sure what’s meant to be achieved by treating all Russians the same, breaking all ties and punishing them for their government. I see no way to peace through creating further division, alienating people and leaving support for Putin as Russians’ only open option. Plays straight into Putin’s hands I think.

    • guest says:

      It is called sanctions, which you would know had you read serious news covering the failed negotiations before the invasion. Sanctions against a country / regime, not against the population. Economic sanctions too. Unfortunately the population has to bear the sanctions, but this was always like this in such cases. The Ukraine population is bearing their current situation too as well as they can, and their lot is much harder, I doubt Gergiev lives now in the subway station. If the Russian population is “alienated” and with Putin in this, I must have missed it. I didn’t miss the Russian protests reported in the media.

    • guest says:

      Vadim Muntagirov is employed at the Royal Ballet as principal dancer since 2014. He is scheduled to dance the first night of the Swan Lake run tomorrow. Gimme a break with “treating all Russians the same.” A couple of you SD commenters are trying very hard to make this look like Russians are being victimized because of their nationality. They are not.

    • Mingus says:

      The people of Russia have made it clear that they disagree with Putin they disagree with the BS politics of Russia …simply by going out into the street and being arrested and then going back out again. So the people of Russia have spoken and will they pay a price ?Yes and from that price comes what? Sometimes the coup d’etat. Sometimes

  • Paul Dawson says:

    There may be trouble ahead
    But while there’s moonlight
    And music and love and romance
    Let’s face the music and dance

  • margaret koscielny says:

    Good. Hit them in the pocketbook. It’s a regret that artists have to suffer for the policies of their country’s leadership, but, if enough people are affected, then maybe, change can take place.

    • V.Lind says:

      Athletes has to pay for it in 1980 when 66 countries withdrew from the Olympic Games, the prize for which many athletes compete over all others and for which the window of opportunity is often just one Games.

      So while it is a pity if artists are the victims during Russia’s latest invasion of a sovereign state, I do not find a justification for exempting them from the price others have had to pay.

  • Felix says:

    An honourable decision. Good on Covent Garden!

  • Heril Steemøen says:

    Just to anticipate the “Why are all Russian artists cancelled for nothing?”: They’re not; this is a ballet funded by the state that has made the invasion.

  • CRogers says:

    Russian artists are suffering, along with Ukrainians, along with…..the lists goes on…..

  • Tony says:

    The anti-Russia hysteria is getting silly. They’ll be banning Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and Stravinsky ballets next, whoever is performing them.

    I don’t want to be banned anywhere as a UK citizen because of the unlawful invasions and occupations we made into Iraq and Afghanistan, which were no less egregious – arguably more so.

    UK tv and radio are so full of anti-Russians bile, they are hardly worth watching or listening to. We want the war to end, not to be perpetuated.

    • guest says:

      This isn’t anti-Russia hysteria, witch hunt, and the rest of rhetoric one can read on SD. It is called sanctions, which you would know had you read serious news covering the failed negotiations before the invasion. Lots of economic sanctions too. Sanctions aimed at a country / regime, not at civilians uninvolved with politics, and certainly not against deceased composers, it doesn’t get more ridiculous as that. That civilians have to bear some of the brunt is unavoidable, and the Ukraine population’s lot is much harder if this is any consolation to you, yuck. The Bolshoi is a Russian _institution_ , of a country in which performing arts are controlled by the government, in case you have missed it. The Bolshoi isn’t a bunch of individuals jumping on a plane every time when they feel like they could improve their personal finances by hopping a little on point on a Western stage.

    • guest says:

      @Tony “They’ll be banning Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and Stravinsky ballets next, whoever is performing them.” In case you are trembling with fear, I am delighted to inform you the Royal Ballet will perform Swan Lake tomorrow. Tchaikovsky’s music and Muntagirov performing the first night, yet nobody thought to ban the performance. Aren’t you happy?

      No one bans Russian citizens just because they are Russian citizens. Don’t fear, no one wants to ban you, you aren’t important. Whoever “we” is (are you royalty, Tony?), if you want the war to end, tell Putin to get out of Ukraine.

  • double standards says:

    Is it going to ban British orchestras too for the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq?

    • guest says:

      Huh? Why should they? This is called sanctions of which Russia was forewarned. You would know had you read serious news covering the failed negotiations before the invasion. Do you expect the UK should enforce sanctions against themselves for an event of the past? Complete with bank assets freeze, airline landing interdiction, and so on? Why, did they negotiate with themselves, winning and losing at the same time, so now they have to punish themselves? Of all the daft suggestions one reads on SD…

  • ROHemployee says:

    Good. Now remove Netrebko from her 22/23 productions.

    Ollie, Peter, we’re watching.

  • Yusuf says:

    Would westerners accept these same standards for themselves? Iraq, Afghanistan (famine) Yemen etc?

    Or is it one rule for the russkies and one for us

    • guest says:

      Sigh. I am tired of copypasting my comment in this comment section but I will do it a last time. It is called sanctions, Yusuf, sanctions following failed negotiations before the invasion. Russia was forewarned. Read serious news for a change. This isn’t double standards, anti-Russia hysteria, witch hunt, and the rest of rhetoric one can read on SD, this is just sanctions affecting the economy, the performing arts, you name it. No one likes sanctions, and it is unjust the population has to bear them, but the Ukraine population’s lot is much harder. Does this makes you happy? Try next time living in the subway station in February, and sharing public restrooms with a few hundreds people, see if you like it, and compare this with the “terrible” hardship of Bolshoi dancers denied the Covent Garden stage, and forced to contend with their two stages at home, both much larger than Covent Garden. Poor little them.

  • Ballerina says:

    That’s so sad that the musicians and artists are suffering as a result of the politians actions. Arts must unite us all.