Christopher Booth

Why are elite Russian musicians backing Putin?

The conductors know the score

Vladimir Putin and Valery Gergiev (Getty)

A world away from the stupendous horror perpetrated by Russian forces in Bucha and Kramatorsk, a parallel conflict is being grittily fought in quite other theatres.

La Scala and The Metropolitan Opera are two of them.

Valery Gergiev, Vladimir Putin’s most favoured conductor, is at the heart of the crossfire. His overseas contracts went up in smoke at the start of the invasion after he failed to recant his long-standing admiration for the Russian president.

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