Director of Bolshoi Theater ARRESTED following pressure to condemn war in Ukraine
Bolshoi Theater director QUITS pressure to condemn war in Ukraine but refuses to speak out against invasion amid growing anti-war protests in Russia
- Tugan Sokhiev felt under pressure due to calls to take a stand on Ukraine conflict
- He refused to condemn war but said he condemned conflict of ‘any kind’
Bolshoi Theater music director and chief conductor Tugan Sokhiev announced his resignation on Sunday, saying he felt pressured by calls to take a stand on the conflict in Ukraine.
The Russian said in a statement that he was resigning “with immediate effect” from his post at the Moscow theater as well as his equivalent post at the Orchester national du Capitole de Toulouse in France.
Sokhiev was appointed by the Bolshoi in 2014. He was hired as part of measures to improve the theater’s image after scandals including the 2013 acid attack on its then artistic director, Sergey Filin.
He hails from the same North Ossetia region of Russia as star chef Valery Gergiev and is considered his protege.
Kremlin loyalist Gergiev was removed from his post at the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra for failing to speak out against Russia’s actions.
Bolshoi Theater music director and chief conductor Tugan Sokhiev said he felt pressured by calls to take a stand on the conflict in Ukraine.
Sokhiev said in a lengthy statement that “a lot of people were waiting for me to speak out and hear my position on what’s going on right now,” referring to Russia’s military action in Ukraine.
He said he decided to quit after “being forced to face the impossible option of choosing between my beloved Russian musicians and my beloved French musicians”.
He cited Toulouse authorities’ opposition to his plan to hold a Franco-Russian music festival there, saying they “want me to speak out for peace”.
Sokhiev became musical director of the Toulouse Orchestra in 2008 and continued to work with the orchestra after joining the Bolshoi.
Sokhiev did not explicitly say whether he supports or opposes Russia’s actions in Ukraine as he said ‘I have never supported and will always be against any conflict in any form’ .
MOSCOW: A woman screams as two officers detain her for participating in an anti-war protest in Moscow on Sunday afternoon
He said musicians were becoming “victims of the so-called ‘cancel culture'” and suggested that Russian music could be under threat.
“I will soon be asked to choose between Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Shostakovich and Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy,” he warns.
Bolshoi director general Vladimir Urin told state news agency TASS he was saddened by Sokhiev’s decision.
“I’m really sorry. His departure is a serious problem for the Bolshoi Theatre. It’s unclear how the situation will develop from now on.”