La Scala’s season in Milan opened with the Russian opera Boris Goduno, with European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in attendance. Protesters awaited them in front of the iconic building, protesting their choice of a Russian product on one of the most important days of the art year, and what they believe is a victory for the Kremlin’s propaganda. The audience, made up of the most important representatives of Italian politics, business and culture, didn’t care about it anyway, and according to reports, one of the Russian artists received a huge round of applause.
Ukrainians are a wonderful and brave people, and the European Union stands for them. But Russian culture should not be confused with Vladimir Putin, and we cannot allow Putin to take away even the best Russian poets and composers from Europe.
Van der Leyen supported the decision of the Milan management. The same was said by Meloni, who believes that Russian history and culture cannot compensate for the crimes of its president, and that Italy continues to support Ukraine in everything it can do to defend itself. La Scala was chosen to open the season three years ago and there was no time to change it after the war broke out, and Boris Godunov said it had nothing to do with Putin’s campaign.
Nevertheless, the Russian media proudly reported on the event, including state television at the start.
Naturally, all this infuriated protesters, including Kharkiv refugees, according to Italian television talked about The lack of timing is an obvious lie, as the Warsaw Opera House, for example, canceled a performance of the same play scheduled for April, days after Russia launched the offensive, citing the suffering of the Ukrainian people. It was only ready to be staged in peacetime.
“I don’t understand why Italians think that Russian culture has nothing to do with the Russian government. This is intertwined with the medieval mentality that created Putin,” said one protester.
He insisted that La Scala had nine months to replace Russian opera with Italian opera, and that there was no shortage of them.
Another NGO supporting Ukrainians decided to listen to the works of Ukrainian composers and join the protests. In their view, silencing Russian culture on this matter would have been a sign of solidarity with Ukrainians.
The ninth round of sanctions against Russia is well under way
It will increase further European Commission pressure on Moscow as Russia wreaks death and destruction in Ukraine with its war.