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Music Festival Cancels Performance by Conductor with Russian Ties

By Sara Schabas on February 19, 2024

Teodor Currentzis
Teodor Currentzis (Photo: Alexandra Muravyeva)

The Wiener Festwochen festival in Vienna has cancelled a performance by the Greek conductor Teodor Currentzis with his Russian ensemble Musicaeterna. Currentzis has faced scrutiny over his Russian ensemble’s financial reliance on a state-owned Russian VTB Bank, as well as his reported closeness with Putin. Ukrainian conductor Oksana Lyniv, who will also conduct at the festival, called featuring Currentzis and Musicaeterna insensitive to the suffering of Ukrainians at the hands of Russia.

Catch-up: The Wiener Festwochen isn’t the first Viennese institution to cut ties with Currentzis. In March 2023, the Wiener Konzerthaus announced the cancelling of performances by Currentzis due to his alleged closeness to Putin. Currentzis has also been blacklisted by Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie and Cologne’s Kölner Philharmonie.

Digging deeper: Despite the Wiener Festwochen and Konzerthaus’ refusal to showcase Currentzis, other reported friends of Putin still frequently perform in Vienna. Soprano Anna Netrebko has returned to the Vienna Staatsoper and Konzerthaus on frequent occasions since the war began to mixed audience responses. Netrebko has expressed frustration at being expected to comment on the war in Ukraine, leading some to call her a singer without a conscience.

Sara Schabas
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