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Russian conductor makes a comeback in China after he was fired for refusing to sentence the conflict

Hong Kong CNN  — 

Valery Gergiev, the star Russian conductor fired in Germany final 12 months for his refusal to sentence the invasion of Ukraine, was given a heat welcome in China this week as he began a three-day efficiency on the nation’s prime artwork heart.

“It’s like coming house,” Gergiev mentioned at a information convention Monday evening, based on state-run tabloid World Occasions, earlier than his first efficiency on the Nationwide Middle for the Performing Arts in Beijing.

His present with Russia’s Mariinsky Orchestra marks the primary time an abroad group has carried out in China because the nation resumed accepting international artists this month, based on Chinese language state media.

Gergiev, who has shut ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, was dismissed because the chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic final March, shortly after Russia’s invasion started.

In an announcement on the time, Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter mentioned he had requested Gergiev to “clearly and unambiguously” distance himself from the conflict. “That’s not what he did,” he mentioned.

At Gergiev’s efficiency Monday, Chinese language audiences seen heightened safety, with employees checking “books and paper, particularly these with notes or that might be written on,” mentioned one viewers member, who requested to not be named.

“Beforehand, they’d generally verify your meals and drinks, or issues like lighters,” they mentioned. “However I don’t keep in mind they’d this particular consideration on paper like this time.”

Others who attended the present mentioned safety personnel went via their books and notebooks “web page by web page.”

The present was given glowing protection in Chinese language state media, with the World Occasions highlighting the shut partnership between Russia and China and referring to Gergiev by his Chinese language nickname “Brother-in-law.”

It additionally defended Gergiev from his critics, claiming that Russian music and artwork had been “focused by the West.”

It wasn’t simply the Munich orchestra that dropped Gergiev after the invasion – New York’s Carnegie Corridor additionally introduced final 12 months that it had canceled performances by the Russian conductor.

In the meantime, New York’s Metropolitan Opera mentioned it could not work with Russian artists and organizations who assist Putin till the invasion of Ukraine ends.

US public broadcaster NPR reported in 2014 that Gergiev’s friendship with Putin spans a long time. Gergiev has additionally supported Putin’s insurance policies that limit the rights of LGBTQ residents, which led to protests towards the conductor at arts venues in earlier years.

In 2014, Gergiev signed an open letter with a bunch of Russian cultural figures stating their assist for Putin’s annexation of Crimea, prompting extra protests towards him in New York.

The present in Beijing this week comes after Chinese language chief Xi Jinping visited Putin in Moscow earlier this month, with the 2 leaders releasing a joint assertion vowing to deepen their international locations’ cooperation and friendship.

China stays a lone voice supporting an more and more remoted Putin; all through the conflict, Beijing has backed Kremlin rhetoric blaming NATO for the battle, refused to sentence the invasion, and elevated financial assist for Moscow by upping purchases of Russian gasoline.

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