Posted inReport

The Maestro’s ATM

On April 12, the website of imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny released an investigation into the hidden international wealth of conductor and Putin confidant Valery Gergiev. The report is the latest in a series authored by Navalny’s team which, as the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project notes, do not constitute neutral journalism—a video […]

Posted inInterview

Truth Over Hope

On February 23, one day before Russia invaded Ukraine, Anna Stavychenko, the artistic director of the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra, spoke with VAN about life in “a constant state of stress” and the importance of music for the Ukrainian identity. Since then, Stavychenko and her family have left their home. She is now commuting between Warsaw […]

Posted inEssay

A Vigil to a Life

When the world falls to pieces, it’s hard to stick to a single story. The best I could do in these three weeks was to put up signposts. It’s my way of trying to remember some important things. The first day of the war, I woke up and read the news. The world had crumbled […]

Posted inInterview

The Danger of Silence

This month, conductor Vitali Alekseenok was slated to conduct concerts in Lviv, Dnipro, and Kyiv, as well as open the Kharkiv Music Festival as its new artistic director. Instead, four days after the beginning of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, he and his girlfriend drove two trucks full of aid supplies eight and a half hours […]

Posted inReview

Infiltrating Justice

Heartbeat Opera’s adaptation of Beethoven’s “Fidelio” achieves what many well-meaning, ostensibly “woke” contemporary music ensemble efforts fail to accomplish. Artistic Director Ethan Heard’s retelling engages directly with the marginalized population it seeks to draw attention to: The “Prisoners’ Chorus” is sung by incarcerated individuals from prison choirs across the United States. Although the opera was […]

Posted inOpinion

Cultural Distinction

As global condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine grows, cultural institutions across Europe and the United States face an uncomfortable conundrum: What to do about Russian artists, particularly those who have vocally supported Putin’s government? What to do about Russian art in general? It’s laudable and necessary for opera houses, orchestras, and festivals to […]

Posted inOpinion

The Treachery of Images

Update Shortly after this article was published, the Metropolitan Opera announced that, after “not complying with the Met’s condition that she repudiate her public support for Vladimir Putin while he wages war on Ukraine, soprano Anna Netrebko has withdrawn from her upcoming Met performances in Puccini’s ‘Turandot’ this April and May, as well as the […]

Posted inOpinion

Taking Gergiev at His Word

Last week, Dieter Reiter, the mayor of Munich, sent an open letter to Valery Gergiev, the chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic. Reiter told Gergiev he had until February 28 to distance himself from the Russian invasion of Ukraine. If Gergiev declined, his contract with the orchestra would be terminated. Some commentators, on social media […]

Posted inReport

“I Can’t Wait to Play Again”

The Youth Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine (YsOU) was founded in 2016 with support from German musical institutions and under the artistic direction of the conductor Oksana Lyniv. The orchestra is open to musicians ages 12 to 22, and is free for participants. The ensemble has toured in Germany, Austria, Croatia, and other countries, and planned […]

Posted inReport

Russian Voices

Throughout a 22-year reign as president, Vladimir Putin has paired military aggression and human rights violations with a culture of fear and silence. Mass protests against his leadership have been violently quashed. Public figures who openly oppose his leadership have faced dire consequences. When Putin made a public address shortly before 6am local time on […]