La Scala tells Gergiev: Condemn invasion or be fired

La Scala tells Gergiev: Condemn invasion or be fired


norman lebrecht

February 24, 2022

The Mayor of Milan has ordered La Scala to sack the Russian conductor Valery Gergiev unless he comes out promptly with a statement condemning the invasion of Ukraine.

Beppe Sala said: ‘With the superintendent of the theatre Dominique Meyer we are asking him to take a precise position against this invasion. If he does not do it we will be forced to end the collaboration.’

Corriere says the theatre management and the mayor have agreed on a formal letter sent to Gergiev, telling him to write ‘a declaration in favor of peaceful conflict resolution’, in the aftermath of his ‘generous position towards Vladimir Putin.’

This is the first real breach in Gergiev’s international freedom.




  • Hope says:

    Viva Italia

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    So if he says yes, this is an awful intrusion of politics in to the arts and he will lose the support of the President and the Mariinsky may well go bust. If he says no, he keeps the Russian government support and loses concerts outside Russia. Cleft stick time!

    • Simpson says:

      Mariinsky has existed for 160 years and will continue to exist, just with a different conductor. Don’t mix up the venerable theater with a temporary dictator. It would actually be a healthy thing for Mariinsky and the arts as a whole there.

    • V.Lind says:

      Take a stand time. Time to decide what matters most to him — the Mariinsky, which would stand for making music — even better if he were there long enough at a time to lead it at its best — or making money, flitting around the world with barely time to rehearse with the orchestras he is visiting.

      Bravo, Milano!

    • Stephen Tomchik says:

      Gergiev need only consult the biography of Furtwangler to see his future and fate.

    • Tihomir says:

      It would be an “awful Intrusion of politics”? The invasion of a sovereign state is … politics? Shelling civilians and lying about it is …. Politics. And you think that speaking about that is “earful”? Wow. Just wow.

    • Patrick Gillot says:

      Invasion of Ukraine is not “political” , it is criminal.

  • Lothario Hunter says:

    Nicely down, La Scala!

    Gergiev will join the short list of conductors that you have fired, along with this other illustrious one, with whom he will then have not one, but two things in common:

  • Concertgebouw79 says:

    Gergiev has to talk and to be franck.

  • Carlo says:

    The correct name of major is Beppe Sala (not Salo)

  • Ronizetti says:

    BRAVO La Scala. While you have been on a Russian hiring craze of late, you make clear you are ready for some Russian firing – This has renewed my faith in you today. Bravo to Milan’s Mayor and Mr. Meyer as well – FORZA Italia

  • Piano Lover says:

    No more Covid news then…
    Another topic moved in.

  • Wurtfangler says:

    Bravo. Now the Munich Phil. also needs to make an ethical and humanitarian stand. They cannot and should not make music with a man who is an ardent and public supporter of Putin. If they continue to employ him they should be ashamed of themselves – the city of Munich deserves better.

  • Conductress says:

    La Scala needs to fire Gergiev and hire Vanessa Benelli Mosell in his place as their next conductor.

  • Richard Willmer says:

    As one who had a letter published by the LA times in 2014 condemning this nameless man, I applaud the Scala’s decision. May he not recant and be sent back to South Ossetia or whichever Ossetia he comes from.

  • Roy Van Zadel says:

    Music as an art is not be used for political reasons, not any of the seven art forms or sports for that matter too but many people have forgotten their spiritual responsebility for all life here in the West while they have more love for money,well you cannot serve 2 masters

  • BigSir says:

    The Mussolini of Milan

  • Slippery Slope to Nowhere says:

    Is this a litmus test La Scala will extend to Netrebko and other artists? What about Chinese artists and if they support President Xi and the assault on Hong Kong or minorities? This is a very slippery slope. Also, wait until the Mariinsky and Bolshoi apply the same litmus to Italian artists about Italy’s support of Libyan dictators for its own oil industry.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Another version of liberal fascism which forces people about what to think, say and do. If Gergiev supports Putin that’s his business; if he wants to be an international pariah that’s also his business. But rest assured he’d have zero influence over that dictatorial thug who plied his trade as a child on the streets of Leningrad.

    Leave the Maestro to make his own appalling judgment calls about whom he calls his friends!!

  • Marcellus Fan says:

    Bravo, Beppe!

  • Alec Villa says:

    It would be great to do the same with Netrebko, with the remarkable advantage of getting rid of a most overrated soprano as well as the possibility of going back to when at the Opening of the season La Scala hired great singers.

  • TeeJay says:

    As much as I oppose the invasion, I also oppose forcing anyone to adopt a particular position as a condition of employment.

    • Nick K says:

      Ask Shostakovich about that.

    • Marvolos says:

      This time is a CRIMINAL activity! Everybody condemned Epstein’s associates! This is even worse! It is a crime against humanity against all states! Stop hiding behind words! Real people LOST their lives!

  • Herr Forkenspoon says:

    “A declaration in favor of peaceful conflict resolution” isn’t the same as condemning the invasion.

  • Kathleen E King says:

    YES! Condemn tyranny or go home.

  • Nick Kalogeresis says:

    Sic semper tyrannis Mr. Gergiev.

  • Barbara Hoerner says:

    Gergiev fired from concerts in US this weekend. Milan should do the same. Apology? Really? Lame.