National Theatre in Prague Removes Tchaikovsky Performance Over Ukraine Conflict

The National Theatre removed the opera The Tsarina’s Slippers by Petr Ilyich Tchaikovsky from the planned repertoire.

The information appeared in an internal letter from the head of the opera Per Boy Hansen, explaining that “the Russian aggression in Ukraine and the current Russian war crimes are inadmissible.”

“In the current situation, we consider it completely inappropriate to perform Tchaikovsky’s opera The Tsarina’s Slippers and to provide pro-Putin propaganda with any possibility of subsequently exploiting artistic interests to justify criminal intentions in the slightest,” writes the letter addressed to ND internal staff Hansen.

According to National Theater spokesperson Tomáš Staňk, the letter was intended only for internal staff. “The change in the dramaturgical program, which has not yet been intended for publication, is an internal matter of the National Theatre,” he adds.

Other works by Russian authors that the National Theatre stage has already presented, such as Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot, remain in the repertoire.

“We stand on the side of Ukraine and respect the decision of the stagers not to support the narrative of the “Great” Russian Empire,” says Staněk.

The final version of the dramaturgical program will be published by the National Theatre on 5 April.

The move is the latest in a series of music resignations, cancellations and withdrawals that have been made since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Conductor Valery Gergiev, 68, was fired as chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic because of his support for Russian President Vladimir Putin and for not rejecting the invasion of Ukraine.

Last week, the Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra removed Tchaikovsky’s popular 1812 overture from its forthcoming program because “the work noisily celebrates Russian resistance to Napoleon’s invasion.”

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