National Opera of Belgium announces season “in which Russian titles feature more prominently than ever”

Janice K. Johnson

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In an obvious effort to counter the intense Russophobia that has taken hold of the European and North American music and artistic world generally, the National Opera of Belgium, to its credit, has announced “a totally unplanned-for season in which Russian titles feature more prominently than ever.”

Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels (Photo credit–EmDee)

Those works include the operas The Queen of Spades (1890) and Eugene Onegin (1879) by Tchaikovsky and The Nose (1930) by Shostakovich, along with pieces by Russian composers Prokofiev, Glinka, Glière, Rachmaninoff and Rimsky-Korsakov featured in various concerts and recitals.

As we have noted on the WSWS, outstanding Russian conductors, singers and musicians such as Valery Gergiev, Tugan Sokhiev, Anna Netrebko and Alexander Malofeev have become victims of the lynch mob atmosphere incited by the Biden administration and Western European governments. The anti-Russian propaganda is aimed both at stupefying the various populations and stampeding them into war and at concealing the cynical manner in which the conflict has been deliberately provoked and ignited by the US and its NATO allies.

In a press release, Peter de Caluwe, the general and artistic director of La Monnaie (the company takes its name from the Brussels opera house in which it performs, once the site of a government mint), explained the company’s reasoning.

“We are aware,” observed de Caluwe, “that this programming might well raise questions and perhaps even trigger discussion or dismay. We have nevertheless decided to run with what was planned, or rather, what has become a cluster of Russian titles to be performed in one and the same season as a result of the COVID pandemic preventing us from performing them according to the original schedule.” The director continued, pointedly, “So while the cluster was not intentional, it provides us with an unexpected opportunity to endorse our intrinsic mission: to unite, bring together and build bridges between people.”

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