Just in: UK cities terminate Russian ballet tour

Just in: UK cities terminate Russian ballet tour


norman lebrecht

February 26, 2022

The Russian State Ballet of Siberia, curently being toured in Britain by Raymond Gubbay Ltd, has been cancelled in Wolverhapton, Northampton and Peterborough in protest at the invasion of Ukraine.

Raymond Gubbay CBE has issued this statement to slippedisc.com: ‘I can well understand the anger which I share that the Russian State Ballet of Siberia is continuing to tour at this time although I am pleased to note that cities have cancelled performances. I have no connection with the company bearing my name, which is now owned by Sony, and I feel it is highly insensitive to continue with the tour at this time.’


  • Elsie says:

    Really dreadful to think that Russian artists are still touring here. What are Sony thinking of?

    • pvl says:

      But you would not be against artist from the communist China. 🙁

    • double standards says:

      Did you think it was ‘really dreadful’ that British orchestras kept playing while the UK fought an illegal war in Iraq?
      You’re also tarring all Russians with the same brush, which is racist.

      • guest says:

        @double standards Aren’t you tired of posting this British orchestra nonsense all over SD? I am tired of reading it. Any person with half a brain can debunk it, which happened several times, yet you seem indefatigable.

    • Frank Flambeau says:

      Elsie, Sony is thinking of money.

    • Peter San Diego says:

      I sympathize with your feelings, but I wonder whether the likes of David Oistrakh or Emil Gilels — both sublime artists, both apparently satisfied Communist Party members — or any of their Soviet colleagues suffered any sanctions in the aftermath of Hungary 1956 or Czechoslovakia 1968. I’m not raising it as a rhetorical question: I genuinely don’t recall whether they were banned for a time, or not.

      What I DO recall (from reading about it much later, not as a contemporary witness) is that Lazar Berman, who won the Budapest Liszt competition on the day before the 1956 revolt began, insisted, as a demonstration of solidarity with Hungary, on playing Liszt’s Funerailles to start every recital thereafter, even though it meant he was only allowed to tour to remote places within the USSR for several years.

  • The Maltese Tenner says:

    What about the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra which in the the last few years seems to have had endless funds?


  • The Maltese Tenner says:

    Tell us Malta Philharmonic Orchestra! Are you going to make a statement about the Russia-Ukraine situation? Tell us about who finances you!


  • Anthony Sanderson says:

    Russian State Opera are due to tour the UK during March/April including at Cheltenham at the Evryman Theatre on 1st April


    Will this tour be cancelled?

    In a statement, it says it has no connection with the Russian State.


    But it seems to be from the same company whose ballet performances have been cancelled.


  • Matthew Byford says:

    What a weak and disingenuous comment from Mr Raymond Gubbay. “I have no connection with the company bearing my name” – except that he took no doubt several millions from the new owners to take over his name, so his name will be forever connected with (and tainted by) what the company does. Or give the millions back and retrieve his name? Anyway Mr Gubbay made loads of cash from the Russians under equally unpalatable regimes with no shame (his blowsy memoir is full of it), so his purple prose is particularly hypocritical now. (Sony are doing a brilliant job turning his old company around btw.)

  • I’m surprised they didn’t rename that Sony [something] as they have other properties they have acquired.

  • SVM says:

    This cancellation is absurd. It is “highly insensitive” to cancel an artist or troupe of artists on account of the actions of the government of their county of origin. As others have said already, given that no such cancellations appear to have been suffered by British artists despite the UK government’s far more numerous war crimes around the world in recent years, it is also an egregious case of double standards.

  • Against Russian Aggression says:

    Good for those UK cities.

  • Mónica says:

    La guerra no solo la hacen quienes la actúan en el lugar físico del conflicto, la guerra la alimentamos y perpetuamos todos con actos y comentarios como éste. Una actividad y un grupo de personas que no tienen la culpa y que no tuvieron injerencia en la decisión del presidente de su país, ahora tienen que sufrir las consecuencias. Llevados por una maquinaría informativa llena de contradicciones, verdades a medias , mentiras completas, sesgada hacia intereses particulares. Hay comentarios de personas de uno y otro bando, a favor y en contra. La guerra es un escenario de varios protagonistas, dónde el poder y el dinero son un motivo predominante. Muchas de estas guerra son arregladas en una mesa , dónde se calculan bajas y ganancias.

  • I find it strange that just being Russian gets you fired. To me that is like saying “if a mouse is born in a biscuit box, it is a biscuit”. That is, of course, an absurdity. Those “celebrity” stars that hitched their wagon to an amoral monster cannot suddenly say “I didn’t mean it” and now face the consequences. Having knowingly made a specific choice.

    But there are flocks of swans unknown in Russia just as instrumental and musical artistes are. Neither Putin nor his government know them let alone know of them while they follow their dreams on stage with passion and raw takent, bringing joy in the dance and the beauty of their music in a country under the control of a despot.

    Unless someone is a known friend and/or supporter of that despot why do people demand we never hear the voice of an angel or see the wonder of a ballerina float across the stage again because of an accident of birth. Are those from Crimea similarly to be shunned?
    I would hope not unless they swear alliegence to Putin.

    We should be very, very careful that we do not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Their are many on the cusp of success, is the world to be denied their music? Are we about to lose a generation of magic?

    Music should transcend the vassictudes of politics and madmen.