Belarusian conductor fired from Odesa Opera House over controversial photo

Vyachaslau Charnukha-Volich / Photo from personal archive
Vyachaslau Charnukha-Volich / Photo from personal archive

Belarusian conductor Vyachaslau Charnukha-Volich has been fired from his post as chief conductor of the Odesa National Academic Opera and Ballet Theater. The reason was his photo with the new director of the Baku Opera who turned out to be the husband of singer Anna Netrebko, under sanctions in Ukraine for supporting Russian aggression, writes

Charnukha-Volich has been the chief director of the Odesa Opera since 2019. In August 2020, he became the chief conductor of the Bolshoi Theater in Minsk on a part-time basis. But two days later he was dismissed from the Minsk theater for political reasons.

On April 8, 2023, Charnukha-Volich appeared as a guest conductor at a performance of La Boheme at the Baku National Opera. Later, photos appeared in social networks with the artists photographed with the conductor and the director of the theater. The director of the Baku Opera Yusif Eyvazov is the husband of Russian opera singer Anna Netrebko. She was sanctioned in Ukraine for providing financial support to the self-proclaimed DNR after 2014 and for supporting the Russian regime.

Nadezhda Babich, director of the Odesa Opera House, told reporters that Charnukha-Volich went to Baku at the invitation of the theater's former director, with whom he had worked for many years. Eyvazov was appointed just one day before the performance. She condemned Charnukha-Volich's participation in such a production and dismissed him, saying that it was a loss of reputation for the theater.

The conductor told journalists that he had actually come to Baku at the invitation of the former director of the local opera. He found out about the dismissal of the previous director upon his arrival, and learned about the new one on the day of the performance. Charnukha-Volich said that he could not have refused to perform.

The conductor emphasizes that he has no information that Eyvazov supported the war in Ukraine. He himself got to know the new director of the Baku Opera House only when he came on stage, and before that he had no contacts.

"If it's about Yusif Eyvazov's wife, then neither a son should be held responsible for a father nor a husband for a wife. There is a certain presumption. I have not seen any public statements by the new head of the Baku Opera about his support for the war in Ukraine. At the same time, at the beginning of the full-scale invasion, he wrote on social networks that he condemns any war and that he has many friends in Ukraine," Charnukha-Volich explained.

He added that when he was invited, he made it a condition that he would not play music by Russian composers and would not work with Russian artists. Baku agreed to these conditions and respected them.

Беларускага дырыжора звольнілі з Адэскай оперы за фота з мужам Ганны Нятрэбка

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