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"Weaponized Tchaikovsky" at St. Petersburg's Mikhailovsky Theater
Last Edit: singleticket 02:57 pm EDT 05/21/22
Posted by: singleticket 02:42 pm EDT 05/21/22

There's a fascinating review by Maja Garcia in the UK publication OPERA of Tchaikovsky's early work OPRICHNIK at St. Petersburg's Mikhailovsky Theater that I wish I could post but it's not available online.

Long story short: the rarely performed opera is receiving a production directed by one of Putin's propagandists Sergey Novikov (former Lukoil executive). Novikov has staged the opera set in the era of Ivan the Terrible to reflect on the West's war against traditional Russian values. The "Oprichniki", the Tsar's bodyguards, are costumed like a group of sinister Roman Catholic priests out of the Da Vinci Code and their assassinations have been transformed by the director into death by waterboarding (a stinging and I must admit deft piece of whataboutist trolling aimed at the US). The propagandist logic of Novikov's staging is twisty and confusing but Garcia's piece explains it well.

Novikov's official title is "Chief of the Russian Presidential Office for Public Projects" and he is also responsible for a "national school-forum" called TRUTH MAKES MIGHT which is tasked with defending the "truth about the Russian army’s eventual success in the special operation in Ukraine".

St. Petersburg's Mikhailovsky Theater is itself fascinating as it was transformed under the largesse of the oligarch Vladimir Kekhman, sometimes called the Banana King because of his fruit exporting empire. Kekhman not only endowed the Mikhailovsky but made himself artistic director. It's as if the late David H. Koch decided that he not only wanted the rename the New York State Theater in his own name but also to run the New York City Ballet himself. Putin's Russia is like the US through a glass darkly and often not so darkly.
Link Truth about Russia’s success in special operation in Ukraine to be defended — Kremlin
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