In Moscow, Alexei Lyoubimov performs a Ukrainian play, his recital interrupted by the police

In the first part of the concert, the musician performed a piece by Valentin Silvestrov. Refugee in Germany, this composer compared Vladimir Putin with Bin Laden.

The music was interrupted by the force of the bayonets. Or, rather, by an anonymous bomb threat. This is the pretext invoked on Wednesday night by the Russian security forces who intervened in a small room from moscow, where a recital by pianist Alexei Lyubimov was held. The 77-year-old Russian was performing there with soprano Yana Ivanilova when policemen appeared on stage in the second half of the night, ordering the musician to stop the music immediately. Despite the pressure, Alexei Lyubimov completed his performance of Impromptu No.2 Op.90 with flying colors. by Schubert.

The invasion of the Moscow police at the Alexei Lyoubimov concert was widely shared on social networks by the public present in the room. The images posted on Twitter or even on Telegram show two agents approaching the pianist, in the middle of a performance, leaning towards him and then addressing the spectators. At the end of the piece, Alexei Lyoubimov briefly raised a victorious fist to the sky as the audience gave him a standing ovation. Evacuated soon after, the building was searched, to no avail, for two and a half hours. “First we waited for the dogs to arrive, then the dogs checked the facilities. It all went on until half past twelve.testified Thursday an employee of the room, the Rassvet, for the independent daily The Moscow Times .

Culture trapped in a vice

Behind the bogus bomb threat there was perhaps a more political motive, many observers felt. The arrival of the police “could be related to the nationality of the composer”, mentions for example the Rassvet employee. Because before giving the music of the Austrian romantic, Alexeï Lyoubimov had played Valentin Silvestrov. Refugee in Germany since the beginning of the Russian invasion, the renowned Ukrainian composer, who is now 84 years old, had created in recent weeks, remarkably, a new orchestration of Prayer for Ukraine, a traditional patriotic anthem. The composition was specially performed in March during the concert for Ukraine organized by the Met Opera in New York.

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A friend of Valentin Silvestrov, Alexeï Lyoubimov had chosen to play a less sulphurous piece in Moscow. His choice had stopped in the musical cycle. stagesfor soprano and piano, a work in which the two artists had already collaborated in the past, especially in 1989. Historically despised by the Soviet power, the composer did not mince words in his words against the Russian president either. Vladimir Putin. “Who supports Putin? Criminals! He recruited them and dressed them in fancy suits.said Valentin Silvestrov in an interview last month with the German channel german wave . he’s a terrorist like bin laden , but a thousand times more powerful. He should be classified as an international terrorist and put on the wanted list.”

Since February 24, the Russian authorities have tightened their control over the media and all forms of opposition, closing several newsrooms based in Russia and proceeding to mass arrests. He is forbidden to use the word “war” to talk about the operations carried out by the Russian armed forces in Ukraine, calling “special military operation” by the Kremlin. In the world of culture, the conflict has finally led to a cascade of concert cancellations, film premieres or ballet tours, as well as several precipitous departures of European talent.

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