In Moscow Alexei Lyubimov plays a Ukrainian work, his concert is interrupted by the police

In the first part of the concert, the musician played a piece by Valentin Silvestrov. As a refugee in Germany, this composer compared Vladimir Putin to Bin Laden.

The music was interrupted by the force of the bayonets. Or rather, by an anonymous bomb threat. Under this pretext, the Russian police intervened on Wednesday evening in a small room in Moscow where a concert by pianist Alexei Lyoubimov was taking place. The 77-year-old Russian was performing there with soprano Yana Ivanilova when, in the second half of the evening, police officers came onto the stage and ordered the musician to stop the music immediately. Despite the pressure, Alexei Lyoubimov finished his performance of Schubert’s Impromptu No.2 Op.90 with applause.

The burglary of the Moscow police at the concert of Alexei Lyubimov was widely reported on social networks by the public present in the room. The images posted on Twitter or even Telegram show two agents addressing the pianist in full interpretation, leaning towards him and then addressing the viewers. At the end of the piece, Alexei Lyoubimov briefly raises a victorious fist to the sky while the audience gives him a standing ovation. Evacuated shortly thereafter, the building was searched for two and a half hours in vain. “First we waited for the dogs to arrive, then the dogs checked the area. Everything dragged on until half past midnight”an employee of the room, Rassvet, testified for the independent newspaper on Thursday The Moscow time .

Culture caught in a vise

There may have been a more political motive behind the bogus bomb threat, many observers suggested. The arrival of the police “could be related to the composer’s nationality”, mentions for example the employee of Rassvet. Because before he gave the music of the Austrian romantic, Alexeï Lyoubimov had played Valentin Silvestrov. Having fled Germany since the beginning of the Russian invasion, the now 84-year-old renowned Ukrainian composer has primarily created a new orchestration in recent weeks Prayer for Ukraine, a traditional patriotic anthem. In particular, the composition was performed in March during the Concert for Ukraine organized by the Met Opera in New York.

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Valentin Silvestrov’s friend, Alexeï Lyoubimov, had decided to play a less sulphurous piece in Moscow. His choice had stopped at the musical cycle stagesfor soprano and piano, a work on which the two artists had previously collaborated, most notably in 1989. The composer, historically unloved by the Soviet power, did not mince his words when it came to Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Who supports Putin? criminal! He recruited them and dressed them in elegant costumesValentin Silvestrov said in an interview with German broadcaster last month German wave . He’s a terrorist like Ben Laden , but a thousand times more powerful. He should be classified as an international terrorist and put on the wanted list.”

Since February 24, Russian authorities have tightened their control over the media and all forms of opposition, shutting down several Russian-based newsrooms and conducting mass arrests. It is forbidden to use the word “war” to refer to the operations conducted and qualified by the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine “military special operation” from the Kremlin. In the cultural world, the conflict has eventually led to a cascade of canceled concerts, film releases and even ballet tours, as well as several hasty exits of European talent.

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