The echo of the Russian bombs on Ukraine reaches as far as the Bolshoi in Moscow and opens the first cracks in the red velvets of the world temple of classical ballet.
In a few days, the Moscow theater has lost its most illustrious stars, adding to the damage of foreign sanctions the impoverishment of an iconic cultural landscape for the pride of Moscow. After the abandonment, on March 6, of the conductor Tugan Sokhiev and, the next day, of the principal dancer, the Italian Jacopo Tissi, and then of the solo dancer David Motta Soares, the prima ballerina Olga Smirnova also leaves . decided to move to the Netherlands. “I’m ashamed of the war,” she said.
A few days after the invasion of Ukraine, the thirty-year-old dancer, considered one of the greatest of her generation, wrote on Telegram that she was “against war in all the fibers of my soul”. Then, after the coherent but certainly not easy decision, she entrusted the announcement to the Dutch National Ballet which in a statement clarified how the Russian invasion of Ukraine makes “it unbearable for her to continue working in her country”.
Of Russian nationality, with a Ukrainian grandfather, the dancer is expected on April 9 in Milan, at La Scala , for the Fracci Gala, where she will dance in pairs with Roberto Bolle.
And where the performance – in “The Death of the Swan” – of another legend of Russian ballet is scheduled, which has so far been very buttoned up against the war. She is Svetlana Zakharova , born in Lutsk, Ukraine, but of Russian nationality, with a pro-Persian past. In 2008 she was elected to the Duma for United Russia, the party of the tenant of the Kremlin but, by her own admission, her politics did not thrill her. Who knows if the etoile will have the green light of the mayor Giuseppe Sala, after Piermarini had closed the doors to the Russian conductor Valery Gergiev who had not dissociated himself from Putin’s war.
” I never thought I would be ashamed of Russia , I have always been proud of the talent of the Russians, of our cultural and athletic achievements. But now I feel that a line has been drawn between the before and the after”, she explained on Telegram Olga Smirnova , adding that in Russia “we continue to live as if this were the 20th century”.
The defections of the stars , in fact, are reminiscent of the excellent ones of the Cold War at the time of the Soviet Union. Among all that of Rudolph Nureyev who asked for asylum in France in 1961 during a tour of the Kirov ballet of the then Leningrad. And if for now, only the stars who can afford it are fleeing from Putin’s Russia, the internal repercussions may not be at zero cost even for someone like the Tsar.
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