PERFORMANCES by Tchaikovsky have been cancelled, sparking debate over whether it is right to stop performing the Russian composer’s work and other Russian cultural offerings.
He is one of the most famous composers in history?
Born in 1840, Piotr Tchaikovsky is famous for his ballets, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker, while his Piano Concerto No. 1 is one of the most popular ever written.
What exactly was cancelled?
The Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra was due to hold a Tchaikovsky concert in the city on March 18, but has dropped its work from the event and will instead perform compositions by Elgar, Dvorak and John Williams.
Because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine?
A message on the orchestra’s official website read: “In light of the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra…believes the previously announced programme, including the 1812 Overture, is inappropriate. yet”, as it tells the story of Napoleon’s defeat at the hands of the Russian army. In a statement posted on Facebook, he added: “A member of the orchestra has family directly involved in the situation in Ukraine and we are trying to respect this situation in the immediate future.”
Were there other problems?
With two pieces in particular. The statement read: “There were also two military-themed plays on the program – Marche Slave and 1812 Overture – which we felt were particularly inappropriate at this time. We were also told at the time that the title track Little Russian from Symphony No 2 was deemed offensive to Ukrainians.
Was the response mixed?
Amid these desperate times, the reaction was heated. A response on Facebook read, “What kind of fool doesn’t have respect for Russian culture because of a madman?” Another called for the orchestra to be canceled and Welsh Conservative MP Fay Jones said on social media: “Groan. Putin is the enemy here. Not Russia.”
But the Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra is not alone?
In Switzerland, the Biel Solothurn Theater Orchestra in Biele canceled its remaining performances of a production of Tchaikovsky’s Mazeppa this weekend. A statement said: “Due to the current situation in Ukraine, we are forced to cancel the performance of the opera Mazeppa.” The opera, based on a work by 19th-century Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, tells the story of a 17th-century Ukrainian Cossack hero.
Around the world?
In Japan, the Chubu Philharmonic Orchestra has announced that it will replace Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture with another piece at a concert to be held in Komaki, central Japan, on March 26, saying it has decided to do so because of the subject of the composition. They will instead perform Finlandia, an 1899 symphonic poem by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, although they will play “Trepak” from The Nutcracker”. A statement read: “We support Ukraine by following the example of this piece, which is a wish for freedom and independence of Finland, then under Russian domination.”
Just last week, the Glasgow Film Festival pulled two Russian films from the program, saying it would be “inappropriate to proceed as normal” with screenings. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said Russia was no longer allowed to enter this year’s Eurovision Song Contest and the Royal Opera House had canceled a planned residency by the Bolshoi Ballet of Moscow.