Friday, January 23, 2015

Gergiev shredded by critics, targeted by protesters along with Anna Netrebko

While Putin’s Russia runs roughshod over the sovereignty of its neighbors, his cultural emissaries are legitimizing his imperialistic aspirations in the West. Conductor Valery Gergiev is a personal friend of Vladimir Putin, having known Russia’s President since his notorious St. Petersburg days. Gergiev’s protégé, Anna Netrebko, is another loyal Putinista. Gergiev and Netrebko openly support the most loathsome policies of their favorite dictator: from oppressive anti-gay policies and invasions of neighboring countries to the annexation of Crimea and Russia-funded terrorist activities in Ukraine.

Valery Gergiev and Anna Netrebko are now touring the United States, with a series of performances sponsored by sanctioned Russian banks, Sberbank and VTB. Perhaps the financial incentives take precedence over the perceived artistic value of such productions. Scruffy Gergiev, who doesn’t seem to own a comb and rarely uses a razor, seems to be just as sloppy in his interpretation of timeless classics. Critics have panned his performances, writing: “This is bad … Gergiev simply hasn’t a clue about how this music should go, and his interpretation, if one could call it that, doesn’t even have the virtue of being grotesque. It’s just flat and, well, wrong … It’s less an interpretation than an act of sabotage.” Gergiev’s disc sets have been said to contain “an unfortunate number of performances of striking mediocrity.”